In the world of fitness, there are many key factors to consider when it comes to achieving your goals. One of these factors is the concept of load versus time under tension. Striking the right balance between the amount of weight you use and the amount of time you spend with your muscles under tension can make all the difference in achieving the results you desire. In this blog post, we will explore the science behind load versus time under tension and examine how it can be applied to your workout routine for maximum effectiveness.
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Much has been made about how quickly (or slowly) one should train. With proponents of slow training claiming its superior due to extra time under tension (TUT) whereas load proponents claim that training slow limits the absolute load you can use and thus limiting your gains. So which is more important?
A new study sheds some light on this question. I break down the study and explain why the two factors aren’t as separate as everyone thinks and how you can apply the results of this study practically to your own training.
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The BEST research breakdowns –
Load and time under tension are two important aspects of a workout that often come into question. There is a constant debate on whether lifting heavy or lifting for a longer duration is more effective in achieving fitness goals. It is essential to understand the science behind these two exercise components. In this article, we will explore the difference between load and time under tension and which approach is better for building muscles.
Heading 1: Load – Lifting Heavy:
When we talk about lifting heavy, we are referring to the amount of weight someone lifts during their workout. Lifting heavy is the traditional way of building muscle. The idea here is to lift as much weight as possible for fewer repetitions. This places a high amount of stress on the muscle, which triggers the muscle fibers to tear and repair themselves, eventually growing bigger and stronger.
Subheading 1: The Benefits of Heavy Lifting:
More testosterone: Heavy lifting has proven to increase testosterone levels in the body. This hormone is responsible for muscle growth, among other things.
Time-efficient: Lifting heavy can be completed in a shorter duration as it involves fewer repetitions.
Better bone density: Heavy lifting increases bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis.
Subheading 2: The Disadvantages of Heavy Lifting:
Higher risk of injury: Heavy lifting puts a lot of stress on the joints and muscles, which increases the risk of injury.
Lifting technique: With heavy lifting, there is more focus on the weight being lifted, which can sometimes lead to poor technique and form.
Plateau Effect: After lifting heavy for some time, the body adapts, and you may see a plateau effect where your muscle growth slows down.
Heading 2: Time Under Tension – Lifting Lighter for Longer:
Time under tension, also known as TUT, refers to the time muscles spend under load or tension. The idea here is to lift lighter weights for a longer duration, keeping the muscle under constant tension, which increases the time under tension.
Subheading 1: The Benefits of TUT:
Better muscle stress: Time under tension creates a better stress response in the muscles, which could lead to better growth.
Increased endurance: TUT causes an increase in endurance, which would be useful for longer duration activities like long-distance running, cycling, or swimming.
Lower risk of injury: Lifting lighter weight prevents overloading of muscles, and the longer duration helps reduce the risk of injury.
Subheading 2: The Disadvantages of TUT:
More time consuming: Time under tension workouts often involve higher repetition ranges, which can take longer to complete.
More challenging to maintain intensity: As TUT requires longer training time, maintaining intensity can be a challenge.
Lesser gains on maximum lifts: Training TUT might not translate to better maximum lifts because of lesser overall intensity.
In conclusion, both heavy lifting and time under tension have their advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to vary workouts and include a mixture of both. Varying workouts can help avoid the plateau effect and improve overall fitness. Find what works best for you, as everyone’s body type is unique.
- Will lifting heavier weights help me lose weight faster?
No. The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume, and that can be achieved through a mix of cardio and strength training.
- Is it necessary to lift heavy weights to build muscle?
Not necessarily. Muscle growth can be achieved through time under tension, but it might not be as effective for maximum lifts.
- How many repetitions should I do in a set?
The recommended repetitions per set are between 8-12 for muscle building, and 15-20 for time under tension workouts.
- What is the best time under tension?
Aiming for 30-60 seconds per set is a good guideline.
- Should I focus on more load or time under tension in my workout?
It’s important to vary your workouts and incorporate both heavy lifting and time under tension. Doing a mixture of workouts will help avoid the plateau effect and improve overall fitness.