What Is Time Under Tension?
For years body builders have been using a technique called time under tension to maximize their muscles at the gym. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you turn into a body builder. I am, however, suggesting that you use the time under tension principal as a tool to keep in your fitness toolbox.
At Narrow Road Fitness we use body weight exercises. For the sake of explanation, let’s use the basic squat as our example:
- If you knock out your squats quickly, it could take 1 second to descend, one second at the bottom of your squat (peak contraction), and 1 second to ascend again. Completing a set of 10 means you kept the leg muscles under tension for 30 seconds total. (3 seconds x 10 reps).
- Simply slowing the squat down to 2 seconds to descend, holding it for 1 second at the bottom in peak contraction, and then ascending for a count of 3 seconds with the same 10 reps now means your muscles are spending 60 seconds total time under tension
Your Muscles Cant Count
It’s true, your muscles can’t count. You can increase your reps, increase your weight (if using dumb bells or resistance machines) or increase the time under tension for which you take to complete each movement. Each will help you grow stronger.
It seems that the best way to stay fit is to keep your body guessing as to what’s next. If you only go for a walk, your body will acclimate or adjust to this repeated exercise, and soon you will reach a plateau and stop seeing improvement. By varying your workout, you will keep your body challenged and keep improving.
How To Use Time Under Tension
Certainly, not every workout needs to include time under tension training. However once per week you may want to consider adding time under tension training to your workout routine. Any exercise – using equipment or not, can be adjusted to use the time under tension technique. Body weight exercises to try more slowly include:
- Squats or Plie’ Squats
- Push Ups
- Crunches (Ladder Crunches)
- Leg Lifts (or Seated Knee Lifts)
- Airplanes (Working on balance and back of the leg)
- Skaters or Curtsy Lunges
There are countless more, but those give you an idea of how to use multi-joint exercises to challenge your entire body.
Put It Into Practice
At Narrow Road Fitness we offer a variety of different workouts that use six different areas of focus:
- Upper Body
- Lower Body
- Lateral Movement (upper and/ or lower body)
- Heart Rate
Our Workouts of the Day have exercises that target each of those six areas and which can be modified (made easier) or progressed (made more challenging ) based on the needs of your participants. It is all written in the programming that is easy to use and manage. We also provide weekly nutrition handouts to share with your audience as well as a six lesson group study to help navigate all the noise in fitness and nutrition
Fitness and nutrition is just our vehicle, though. More than providing a much needed health service to the community, we allow opportunities for members to build meaningful relationships, stay in Scripture through the week, and even to invite the community into your building and begin a relationship with Jesus!