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Maximum Time Under Tension

Posted on 5th October 2016

Training Techniques


Today I am going to talk about using maximum time under tension to increase muscle growth, and the importance of tempo and lifting technique throughout your training

muscle building training techniques


Why I like tempo training… and think you should too!

No 1 Improved quality of movement
No2 Reduce risk of injury
No3 Improve strength gains

So you want to grow more muscle and gain strength at the gym? In this blog we are going to go explain the biggest mistake I see in the gym day in day out by nearly 90% of gym goers who slaughter themselves with tones of repetitions and unlimited amounts of sets per muscle group. Little do they know that it’s not all about the volume of work you get done but more important the quality of work that’s undertaken. This simply boils down to the tempo or also described as time under tension when performing a certain exercise.

In order to recruit more muscle fibre’s when performing and exercise we need to slow the movement down and get all four points of a rep perfect.


The four points of every training repetition and time that should be spent at each phase:

  1. Eccentric Concentration – Lowering of the weight – 5 seconds
  2. Stretch position – Bottom position of the movement – 3 seconds
  3. Concentric contraction – Raising the weight – 3 seconds
  4. Contraction position – Top position – 1 second

So now that we have the phases learnt and understand that we can look at the time spend at each phase and why we do that, although the time spent at each phase can vary depending on the exercises and the preference for everybody as one tempo may not work for everybody but this is a fantastic outline to go from and it’s my personal preference and have found huge improvements and my own muscle mass and strength have gone beyond what I expected…

We keep the eccentric phase slower to all other phases because we are a lot stronger in this phase so we emphasize it a lot more due to this, plus it’s a lot safer when dealing with heavy compound exercises like bench press and squats. Stretch position is a little less but can be varied to your likes, in my opinion this position is the most important We need to keep that mind to muscle connection to get the most out of this phase as this is the phase were we make the muscle part really work hard. By keeping the muscle group under tension for a loner time makes us recruit more muscle fibres and in return more muscle size and strength.The amount of time you put your muscles under tension is a critical component of muscle growth. Anyone from a first time gym user to a hardcore lifter can benefit from mixing some increased time under tension techniques into his or her program. Not only will the increase in time under tension spur new muscle growth but it will force you to check your form and use more appropriate weights.

So my challenge to you for this weeks training is to try some of these techniques and increase the time under tension your muscles experience. I think you’ll reap some excellent rewards!

tj  Written by TJ Hickey, Xtreme CSC, Cashel, Ireland.

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