Time Under Tension

Your muscles get bigger because the fibers that make up your muscles get bigger. So, in order to bring about the greatest response, you need to know what is happening at a cellular level when you are working out. Fortunately, when it comes to muscle fiber, it’s really simple . . .

Your muscle fibers have two settings – off and on.

When the fiber is on, your muscles are contracted. When they’re contracted, you’re using energy within the cell and that energy drains away. Keep the muscle fiber turned on long enough and you’ll cause stress to the muscle fiber. When you stress the muscle fiber your body senses danger and responds by stimulating protein synthesis and triggering an anabolic signal that sends help to build and repair the damage, thus creating growth and strength of the damaged muscle fiber. Now, when the cell recovers it has to pack more energy into the cell in order to cope with the demand.

Time under tension is the amount of time that a muscle is under tension and contracted through a movement. Let’s think for a moment about the barbell curl. There’s a place at the bottom and at the top of the movement where you don’t have the maximum tension on the muscle. The time that you are moving between those points is considered time under tension.

Maximizing time under tension is one of the keys to muscle growth. So how much time under tension should you be looking for? Maximum muscle hypertrophy is achieved when the total length of a set is between 40-60 seconds. Now, you may have never timed the length of a set before, but for most guys training with a conventional tempo, a set of 12 reps will last about 25 seconds. That allows for 1 second up and 2 seconds on the descent.

As you can see, conventional training falls way short of achieving the ideal time under tension. The workout is simply not placing the muscle under constant tension for long enough to bring about a growth response. This is what lead me to create TriCon sets…This is an amazingly effective way to insure maximum muscle tension, which will create a huge growth response! It may take you a few workouts to learn how to execute TriCon sets correctly, and they may feel a little awkward at first; however, once you learn how to properly execute a TriCon set and you learn to contract the target muscle during the isometric hold, you will be blown away at the density you begin to see in your muscles!

Tension can be either dispersed across a number of muscles or it can be concentrated in a single muscle. The difference between the two is huge. Because the body is always looking for the path of least resistance, it will try to recruit as many muscle groups as possible to complete a set. That is Not what you want. Your goal must be to keep the tension on the working muscle throughout the entire set. In order to do that you need to focus on developing your mind-muscle connection. This, along with optimal time under tension training will lead to rapid and maximum results!

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