Time Under Tension (TUT) is essentially slow movement, that educates the body on how to stimulate every muscle fibre it can in one specific movement. It is something that many endurance athletes don't consider, but is something that might level up your strength and conditioning training.

In this blog post, I'm going to take you through the role it plays in endurance sports.

Covered in this blog

  • What time under tension training is
    • Who can benefit from training utilising time under tension training
  • How time under tension is completed in a gym
  • Some examples of time under tension training

Time under tension moves can be performed using body weight or light weights alone

What time under tension training is

Firstly, it is great for beginners and advanced trainers alike.

Beginners, when you first join a gym, and start lifting weights, your body has no idea what it is doing. Even the simplest of moves, like the bench press, can lead to the correction of small errors in form, like one arm pressing faster than the other, which might result in a wonky barbell, or a lack of strength.

With time training in this manner, you'll suddenly feel stronger and more in control. What has happened here is that your central nervous system has learned how to correctly stimulate your muscle fibres to perform the movement correctly.

Flor the advanced gym goer, who has trained for a while, it is easy to forget small movements that reinforce the bodies neuromuscular connection. This can lead to things like a lack of glute activation, unstable knee joints, and weak backs. The squat is a prime example here; creating issues like wonky knees, hip movement, and the back caving. Obviously, not something you want to happen.

Time under tension training cures both these potential issues by teaching the body how to correctly activate muscle fibres. Recruiting more muscle fibres results in correct technique, but also more strength, power and efficiency on the bike as your body will run as a more complete machine.

The time under tension method can be performed anywhere!

How time under tension is completed in the gym

The great thing about TUT is that you can do it anywhere and, to be honest, you don’t even need a gym. A simple lower body routine can be done with nothing but your own bodyweight, or with some light weights. 

Time under tension requires a lot of discipline. You are going to slow the exercise right down. If you imagine a squat, or press up, you will lower yourself down taking 5-10 seconds (based on experience level) to reach the bottom position, after this you will slowly raise yourself back up, again taking 5-10 seconds. You will do these as a set of repetitions; 4 sets of 10 works well. And boy, it burns!

Pull-ups are a great example of an exercise that can be performed using the time under tension method

Some examples of time under tension training

If you want to give this a try, here are a few examples of exercises that work great with time under tension rules applied.

  • Standing lunges
  • Bulgarian squats
  • Press ups
  • Pull ups (if you are strong enough)
  • Stiff leg deadlifts
  • Glute raises
  • Hip abductors
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep push downs

Essentially any exercise you can do in a gym, you can drop the weight and do some TUT work on.

Give it a try and see how you get on!

About The Author: Adam Copley

Adam is a self-employed coach based in Sheffield, UK. Alongside this he is an avid cyclist and competes in cross country mountain biking across the UK. He has raced Cyclocross during the winter and is also a huge lover of road cycling. While he's not working on his business, he is usually out on two wheels getting fitter, and enjoying the fresh air and many climbs in the peak district.

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