Q&A: What is Time Under Tension? Use This Technique to Build Strength Fast

Q&A: What is Time Under Tension? Use This Technique to Build Strength Fast
Presented by Spartan Training®

In this Spartan Fit franchise, we take your timely questions straight to our Spartan experts. This time, learn how to use time under tension to enhance your workouts. 

Question: What's Time Under Tension — And How Should I Use It In My Fitness Routine?

The Expert

Sam Stauffer, Spartan’s Director of Training

The Answer

time under tension

“Time under tension (or TUT) is basically the amount of time you are under stress for each rep of an exercise,” Stauffer explains. You can manipulate the TUT in all three phases of a repetition — concentric (pulling or pushing the weight), isometric (holding the weight in place), and eccentric (returning the weight to start). 

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The eccentric phase, though, is where Stauffer says you can get the most bang for your buck when it comes to strength training. “By doubling down on the eccentric phase, you can master your ability to control weight as it moves in space, reducing your risk of injury,” says Stauffer. 

Try the Earth Pushers workout or Upper Body Builder on the Spartan FIT app. Do your reps with a quick concentric motion, slight isometric hold, and slow eccentric motion. You can use a 1:1:2 (C:I:E) or 1:1:4 (C:I: E) ratio.  

How Time Under Tension Can Impact Bodyweight Training, Too

time under tension

“A longer eccentric phase can also be helpful in mastering pull-ups and push-ups,” says Stauffer. For those who struggle with the pull-up, place a plyo box just under the bar, jump up so your chin goes over the bar, and do your best to slowly lower yourself to full extension. Then release completely and repeat. Do this until you fatigue and cannot hold the eccentric motion for longer than a second. You can do the same thing lowering slowly to the ground in a push-up. 

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And feel free to get creative with TUT: “I highly encourage testing out a few different variations,” Stauffer says. “A great way to keep your programming consistent yet ever-changing is to introduce new TUT techniques.”  

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