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Time Under Tension (TUT) Training

Time Under Tension is an advanced technique which involves slow concentric or eccentric movements which increases the time the muscle is under tension. With Nutan Khimasiya’s well-researched article, learn how TUT helps in muscle hypertrophy and how you can train well with it.

Time Under Tension (TUT) Training

Professional bodybuilders and sports scientist have always been using new training methods to increase the much needed muscle hypertrophy. Progressive overload has proved to be a key technique in science of bodybuilding for gaining hypertrophy in muscles. However, many bodybuilders during their advance stages of training program, experience a state when the progress becomes stagnant. To overcome this phase of no change in muscle size, sports scientist and coaches have experimented and evolved with variation in resistance training programs to stimulate muscles differently, than usual, during exercise.

Time Under Tension (TUT) is one such advance training modality used to maximally stimulate muscle, focusing on time taken to complete each repetition and ultimately overall set. This technique involves slow concentric (contraction of muscle under load when length of exercising muscle shortens) and / or eccentric (production of force occurring while the muscle is lengthening under load) movements which increases the time the muscle is under tension.

Research suggests that hypertrophy is enhanced in hypoxic/anabolic (low oxygen) muscle environments when blood flow to the exercising muscle is obstructed.

The TUT is an ideal technique wherein exercising muscle's time under tension is stretched creating more anabolic response.

Also as the exercising muscle is under tension for a longer period of time, stressed to total fatigue, instigates greater muscle fiber recruitment and ultimately promotes muscle hypertrophy.

The motor units in the muscle being worked are recruited from smallest to largest. The more time you keep a muscle under tension, the greater chance you have of recruiting fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers produce more force and are larger than slow twitch muscle fibers, so more hypertrophy.

However, simply increasing total TUT may not be enough to maximize volume of workout and to help for gain hypertrophy.

Research indicates that for getting more benefits through TUT one must pay attention to the repetitions by slowing them down and reducing the number concentrating on correct posture and techniques of particular exercise.

For intense, instead of doing through 15 to 20 reps for 60 seconds, slow it down and do just 4 to 6 repetitions in same 60 seconds. This will increase the window of time during which the exercising muscles is actually under tension. Hence using lighter weights, reducing rest in between sets, increasing hypoxic environment in exercising muscle are strategies used in TUT to promote muscle hypertrophy.

An ideal TUT training program may involve following pattern;

  • While performing exercise slow down by putting exercising muscle under tension for about 8-10 seconds in each repetition; or
  • Perform overall set of an exercise for a fixed time, say 1 min with slow concentric and /or eccentric movements without counting the reps.

These time bound reps and sets put exercising muscle under tension for longer span of time than usual, stimulating the muscle to adapt accordingly. Such varied method of stimulating muscles distinctly might show some results, however, it must be performed deliberately and under expert guidance and only by professional athletes in their advance training program, as it involves slow eccentric movements under load, a major cause of injury during training.

TUT can be easily performed by using a metronome, where in we can set a time for each repetition or set or can be conveniently done with a partner who can concentrate on time while the other performs the exercise.


  1. Nishimura, A, et al. “Hypoxia Increases Muscle Hypertrophy Induced by Resistance Training.” International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21266734.
  1. Burd, Nicholas A et al. “Muscle Time under Tension during Resistance Exercise Stimulates Differential Muscle Protein Sub-Fractional Synthetic Responses in Men.” The Journal of Physiology 590.Pt 2 (2012): 351–362. PMC. Web. 28 Nov. 2017.

About The Author

Nutan Khimasiya

Nutan Khimasiya certified Fitness and Nutrition expert. Nutan Khimasiya is internationally certified Fitness and Nutrition expert from ACSM-Clinical Nutrition, K11-Sports Nutrit.. Read More..


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