Time Under Tension Myth for Muscle
According to some experts, one of the secrets to gain muscle fast is that a muscle must be “under tension” for somewhere between 40 and 70 seconds.
(That means including the "up" and "down" phase of a rep, your entire set needs to last a minute. - CB)
Taking a full 40–70 seconds to complete a set of 6–8 reps is one of the most ludicrous things I could possibly imagine. I can barely make sex last that long, never mind a set of chin ups.
By lifting this slowly, you severely limit the poundages you can handle on any given exercise which instantly decreases the efficiency of the set.
When you intentionally lift slowly and try to extend the time of your sets you increase lactic acid production, but that’s about it. This gives you the burning sensation that some confused people may think equates to muscle growth.
You can get a burning sensation by doing 100 crunches… or sleeping with the wrong girl. But neither of those activities is going to lead to significant muscle growth.
The muscle fibers that have the greatest growth potential are the fast twitch fibers, and they are only recruited maximally when you lift heavy weights and your sets are about twenty seconds in duration.
That means that doing sets with around 80% of your one rep max (1RM) for 5-8 reps will lead to fast muscle gain much more effectively than using lighter weights for higher reps and a longer time under tension.
That doesn’t mean that you should never do sets that last longer than twenty seconds or that you shouldn’t go above eight reps. It simply means that the bulk of your training should be heavy and on the lower end of the rep and time under tension scale. Once you have that covered you can hit some longer sets and try to get your pump on.
It pains me to admit, but there was a time in the early 90’s when the concept of time under tension was gaining immense popularity and I actually got suckered into trying it with a great number of my clients.
I took half the clients at my gym and put them on long duration sets for 6-12 months. I figured it was worth a shot, especially after all of the great benefits that I had been reading about this amazing concept.
A year later, almost every single person who had been forced to try this hideous concept, including me, was smaller, weaker and slower. The lucky few who weren’t were no better off than they were before starting the experiment. You live and learn I guess.
Over the last 15 years I have conducted countless other training experiments on myself and hundreds of clients ranging from 14 year old wrestlers to professional baseball players to 45 year old guys just looking to get jacked. I have made all the stupid mistakes so you don’t have to.
Save your time and money by learning from my experiences.
Check out Jay's blog here: musclemorphosis.com