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All About Time Under Tension (TUT)

Monday, September 6, 2021

Time under tension, that is, you can find the range that suits your target with the TUT and you can work your muscles more accurately.

What is time under tension in this article? From the answer of the question, to the usage areas of TUT; I will give you a lot of information from the TUT range that suits your goal, to the researches about TUT.

What is time under tension?

To explain the time under tension, we first need to take a look at the stages of the exercise. I wanted to use the barbell curl exercise to explain.

The stages of the barbell curl:

  • The movement first starts with the position where you do not apply any force and the weight is at the bottom. (0. seconds)
  • Then, you start exercising and slowly lift the weight up to the very top. (2. seconds)
  • You start lowering the weight again. (3. second)
  • You lower the weight to the position where you started the exercise. (5. seconds)

Here, between the start (0. seconds) and the end (5. seconds), the biceps muscle worked for 2 seconds when lifting the weight, and 2 seconds when lowering, and remained under tension for a total of 4 seconds.

We call this time the time under tension, that is, TUT.

As a result, if you do 10 repetitions for a set from the movement, the total TUT value for the barbell curl will be 40 seconds.

Why is time under tension important?

In the exercise process, with the aim of improving your muscles’ strength-gaining strength and endurance, simply weight on the muscle;

How violently,
For how long and
It’s about how he stayed.

For this reason, the duration of the weight on the muscle mass is the key to the development of the purpose and is very important. As I mentioned in the definition, we call the TUT for the duration of weight remaining on the muscle.

How many reps should I repeat for proper growth on muscle? I explained the nature of the movements in my article called compound and isolated exercises.

What does research say about time under tension?

If you are used to reading articles in Fitekran, “When will we examine the research?” You must be asking. Here are the times I chose from the researches about the TUT:

Research 1

In this study on eight men, the subjects were divided into two groups and leg exercises were performed. The first group was held under more tension by doing slow exercise. The other group applied the movement at the usual exercise speed.

After one-day recovery phase, the subjects’ leg muscles were biopsied (tissue removal) and the rate of protein synthesis was determined.

After the biopsy, the muscle building rate (protein synthesis) of the group exercising slowly was increased by 176%, while the muscle building rate (protein synthesis) of the group exercising at normal speed was increased by 126%.

As a result, it was observed that the time under tension should be prolonged (exercise should be done slowly) in hypertrophy, that is, athletes aiming for growth, and it was proved how the purposeful use of TUT makes a difference.

Research 2

In the second study conducted on 18 elite athletes, it was aimed to show that endurance can be improved with time under tension. The first group was divided into two, and the forearm (biceps) exercise was performed with short-term sets with explosive power, and the second group was performed with forearm exercises with long repetitions on the basis of time under tension.

As a result of performance-based curl exercises performed by the subjects at the end of 8 weeks, it was observed that the first group (the explosive exercise) showed a faster increase in blood lactic acid and more dramatic reactions to this increase in long-term endurance exercises.

As a result, exercise programs that are structured using time under tension, ie time under tension, are more efficient and logical.

Targeted time under tension time

There are roughly three different situations as targets. The first is stamina, the second is strength, and the third is hypertrophy. If you want, let’s start examining the time that should be spent under tension for the target immediately.


1-6 reps
6-12 reps
12+ repeat

TUT time
4-20 seconds
40-60 seconds
60+ seconds

Time under tension values ​​alone do not guarantee achieving your goal. Exercise technique and number of repetitions are as important as time under tension in development.

Things to pay attention

Finally, I want to list the things you need to pay attention when using the time under tension method.

Try to practice the exercises in a controlled way. Strength, hypertrophy, or endurance, whatever your goal is, don’t let the weight disrupt exercise.

Arrange the repeat and set numbers correctly. Do not use the time under tension method at the beginning level. Shape the duration of the eccentric (muscle length) and concentric (muscle length) phases according to your needs.

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