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What is time under tension? how can you utilize it to build more muscle. How does it compare to doing faster reps.  Today we will be discussing both and you decide what approach better suits your needs.

What is  muscle hypotrophy?

Muscle hypotrophy is a term used to refer to muscle growth. How does muscle grow? When you are working out, Your constantly damaging your muscle fibers, which results in micro-tears in the muscles. repaired by the body by fusing the muscle fibers together to form new myofibrils (collection of muscle protein strands) which are thicker and stronger than before. This helps your body adapt to the muscle stimulus that resulted in the muscle tear. In short,  the body adapts to the stress that we put it through, in this case, by resistance training.

Time under tension

Doing reps faster and explosively does recruit more muscle fiber and motor units. This results in you being able to build more muscle endurance and strength. slowing down your reps and putting tension on them while being slower on the eccentric motion of the exercise than on the concentric, helps your muscle fibers break down just as they would lifting heavier, but the risk to reward ratio with slowing them down is greater. this allows you to control your form as the weights are not making you swing them just to lift them up.

The safety factor is also in place. One of the most commonly happening mishaps in the gym are from lifting heavier weights that are uncontrolled. Using weights with time under tension in mind not only makes you stronger and allows you to recruit more muscle fibers. It helps build a better, mind muscle connection with your body as well, while using weights that aren’t light or excessively heavy but controlled. Click the link to know more about about mind-muscle connectionWhatever weight you might be using, if you apply time under tension to it, you won’t be able to do more than 8 to 15 reps. The rep range given to you is just a ball park for you to understand. It could be less or more for you depending on your strength. It’s an estimate to allow you to understand what weights to choose.

Time under tension with body weight exercises

Time under tension is your best bet if you want to build more muscle without using any weights at all. It’s one of the most  effective ways of training when it comes to calisthenics. If all you want to use is your body as a resistance and nothing else, time under tension is the most effective approach to take. Putting more stress on your muscles is what allows them to get bigger and stronger, as well as increase your repetitions on the same exercise. This includes exercises like push-ups, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups etc. Basically, every single body weight exercise, done with time under tension, will allow you to get better and stronger at them.

Time under tension and lifting

The benefits of TUT are way more than people realize. Slowing down a rep to put your muscles into tension for a longer period of time promotes more muscle hypotrophy which results in you being able to build more muscle long term. Sure  lifting heavy results in more muscle gains as well. The science behind it is the same if you think about it. When you lift heavier weights, your muscle breaks down faster than it would when lifting lighter weights and it would take more time for muscle hypotrophy to occur. Lifting excessively heavy for fewer reps does make the process even faster and you do recruit more muscle fibers.
but when you compare the recruitment from both time under tension with reasonably heavy weights and excessively heavy weights, the results are quite similar. So, we can argue on the fact about what’s more optimal, but considering the overall benefits of slow reps with time under tension in mind with moderately heavy weights to failure. The benefits far outweigh the risks involved.


  • the risk of injury when working with weights is significantly lower when slow reps are utilized with time under tension
  • As a beginner it helps build a mind muscle connection using slower reps utilizing time under tension as it helps build good form.
  • the difference between too heavy against progressively heavy weight with time under tension to the point of failure is insignificant
  • both have their benefits none is superior in terms of building muscle.
  • Here is a list of top exercises that you can do at home or at the gym. Read top-exercises-for-building-muscle-at-the-gym-or-home/
  • To know more fitness tips if your a beginner. Read Essential-fitness-tips
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