Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:

Time Under Tension - The 75-Second Muscle Solution

Do your workouts need a little boost? Try this new method for greater muscle contraction and a bigger pump!

One day while training at Old School Gym, I realized my back workouts had grown stagnant. I was bored with rowing movements. After watching lifters throw around heavy dumbbells on single-arm-bent-over-rows with little control at the top, an idea came to me: I decided to perform a "hold" at the top of each rep. I timed each hold to the number of the rep-one second for the first rep, two for the second rep, and so on.

I did my next set of one-arm rows, holding and counting at the top of each rep. By the twelfth rep, I was holding for 12 seconds! My back was engorged with a crazy amount of blood.

My Rep-Hold Method was born.

I loved the incredible pump from my back workout, so I decided to use the same concept as a burnout on triceps press-downs. Again, I was amazed at the results. The increased time under tension (TUT) dramatically increased the payoff from each rep.

TUT, TUT!

Many top bodybuilders, including four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, have placed an emphasis on squeezing the muscle at the completion of a rep. Arnold recommended this type of method with his "Peak Contraction" technique. The Rep-Hold Method is also similar to the Iso-Tension Weider principle, which involves flexing and holding muscles-posing, basically-for 6-10 seconds between sets.

Tension, in this case, refers to the act of flexing or squeezing your muscles harder during the hold in your movements. Doing so tells your muscles to recruit more motor units.

Dumbbell Row Rep Hold Method

Watch The Video - 00:33




These motor units cause the nervous system and the muscle groups to work together, contracting more total muscle fibers. The harder and longer you squeeze, the more muscle fibers you recruit!

This method also drastically increases the total time under tension of your sets. Total time under tension is the product of your lifting cadence and total reps. For example, your average gym-goer might be using a 1-0-1-0 cadence during a biceps curl: She lowers the weight over one second, doesn't pause at the bottom, raises the weight in one second, and then immediately goes into the next repetition. This means that each repetition will take two seconds, and a set of 10 will take approximately 20 seconds to complete.

The Rep-Hold Method will extend that same set for a much longer period. Even if we use the same speed as our example lifter, but pause at the peak contraction, we end up doing nearly four times more work.

We still have those 20 seconds of tension generated from raising and lowering the weight, but we also add 55 seconds by squeezing at the top for those ten repetitions. This extra work makes our set last 75 seconds!

Tricep Pressdown Rep Hold Method

Watch The Video - 00:30




Mo' Tension, Mo' Muscles

Studies have demonstrated that an increase in time under tension leads to increases in protein synthesis. You know what that means: bigger muscles!

When compared to lifters who performed their movements rapidly, those who extended set duration by pausing and lifting slowly had better responses in muscular hypertrophy.

If you want to increase your time under tension, alter your training method. First, reduce your payload. Heavy training can be good sometimes, but if your focus is on physique, other training methods can help you improve.

Second, on certain free-weight exercises like flyes or curls, you may be better off stopping just short of the final position. Holding at the top of a biceps curl isn't going to do much because that position reduces tension on the muscle. Stop short and hold tight.

Implement It Today

The Rep-Hold Method will rush some serious blood into your muscles, sparking growth and increasing endurance. Your body will be forced to adapt and grow. I like to combine Rep-Hold with my 28-Method for a fun—but extremely taxing—day at the gym.

Barbell Shrugs Rep Hold Method

Watch The Video - 00:29





Bookmark and Share

Related Articles

About The Author

Cory Gregory co-founded MusclePharm. As Executive Vice President of Business Development, Gregory works closely with all of the world-class athletes.

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
9

Out of 10
Excellent
18 Ratings

17

Comments

Showing 1 - 17 of 17 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
fofotototete

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
fofotototete

Seems legit!

Sep 25, 2012 5:32pm | report
 
Holly444

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Holly444

Awesome! Will definitely try this out. :)

Sep 25, 2012 6:04pm | report
 
emilysingan

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
emilysingan

Definitely gonna give this a try :)

Sep 25, 2012 6:43pm | report
 
liuzhoudragon

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
liuzhoudragon

Will definetly try

Sep 25, 2012 6:49pm | report
 
awlareau

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
awlareau

great advice. let me tell you it works excellent! also similar to this is to lift the weight slow but drop it faster. this also extends the time (like for biceps curl take 1 second to lower the weight and 3 seconds to raise it) this is basically the same principle.

Sep 25, 2012 10:46pm | report
 
TonedJordan

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
TonedJordan

Surely you're better off making the eccentric phase 3 seconds and the contraction phase 1 second? The eccentric phase is what causes microtears in the muscle, causing it to rebuild stronger/bigger.

Going to give this idea a try tonight. Is it worth trying it in a reverse manner, doing the first rep and holding for 12 seconds, second rep for 11 seconds etc?

Sep 26, 2012 6:22am | report
herofit54R

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
herofit54R

I'm sorry but you can't repackage something Arnold wrote about in 1977. It's not LIKE 'Arnold's Peak Contraction' intensity technique, it IS Arnold's Peak Contraction intensity technique. In power movements you jerk and throw, the speed and intensity of acceleration of the weight recruiting a large volume of fibers. In tension movements, you focus on quality of contraction, isometric hold, and negative tension to maximally exhaust a muscle. The former increases free testosterone, the latter increases insulin growth hormone levels. This information's as old as the hills, Muscle Pharm can't claim ownership of it as a new principle. Knowing the difference and how it applies to your bodybuilding goals is the entire story of bodybuilding, you can't just throw it all into a workout randomly and expect results.

Sep 25, 2012 11:45pm | report
 
samerym

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
samerym

I agree! This is weak; and this guy keeps "reaching" to plug his company.

Sep 26, 2012 8:37am | report
JRose13

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
JRose13

seems like this might be good to add to the last set of each exercise, but not a whole routine with just this

Sep 26, 2012 7:38am | report
 
mbogier

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
mbogier

I was thinking the same thing. Either the first since your the freshest or the last set to get the burnout and destroy the muscle.

Sep 26, 2012 3:33pm | report
BrandonDelling

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
BrandonDelling

Nuff said!

Sep 26, 2012 8:44am | report
 
GyanJones

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
GyanJones

great article

Sep 26, 2012 9:03am | report
 
Hunygadget

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Hunygadget

right.

Sep 26, 2012 12:55pm | report
 
wisnic

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
wisnic

who doesn't do this already?

Sep 26, 2012 3:01pm | report
 
mikemitchell20

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
mikemitchell20

Let's say you can pull off 8 reps using this technique and 15 reps with just a solid contraction at the peak. Is there much difference in time under tension?

Sep 26, 2012 3:24pm | report
 
philly2483

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
philly2483

So is this something that should be done in every workout? To get maximum results? I am talking about literally holding every rep on say squats,bench,pull ups, etc.

I tried this the other day with squats and it was insane holding at the bottom I did 4 of 12 with 225 I was winded I was also super setting back and forth and holding my seated leg curls. I just want to make sure I am doing this the right way.

Feb 15, 2013 7:37pm | report
 
alvarojg92

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
alvarojg92

Gonna try this out today and post the results ;)

May 2, 2014 2:16am | report
 
Showing 1 - 17 of 17 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com