Today I tried something different – something you haven’t seen on this site before and something I haven’t done in quite a while – a Time Under Tension (TUT) workout. TUT training is basically the amount of time your muscle is under tension – lifting or lowering – weight during a set. Most studies say that the optimal time under tension for building muscle is between 35-45 seconds. So, if you think about it, each rep during a regular workout usually takes around 4-5 seconds (2 up, 1 pause/squeeze, 2 down for strict form). This can vary of course, and it did today during this workout.

I really slowed down the tempo on the eccentric – or negative – portion of each exercise. So my tempo during this workout was a 2-1-4 count. Meaning each rep took around 7 seconds. I used a timer again for this, since it is very hard to do all of that counting while you are workout out!

Your rest periods can vary with this type of training and I have heard of people resting for up to 3 minutes for larger body parts. But since this was an arm workout, and since I don’t like to rest much, I cut that down to 90 seconds between sets. It seemed like a lot at first but trust me, you will need the rest 🙂


• 45 seconds of work and 90 seconds of rest
• A tempo of 2-1-4. 2 seconds on the lifting/concentric, a 1 seconds pause/squeeze and 4 seconds non the lowering/eccentric portion of the exercise
• Start with a weight that you can lift for roughly 12-15 reps.You will NOT be counting reps here, you are lifting the weight for 45 seconds. The point is to keep the muscle under tension for the entire 45 seconds, so use a weight you do not have to put down or pause with.
• Perform 3 sets of each exercise. If you think the weight you are using is too light, it is ok to add another set once you figure it out 🙂


• Standing Barbell Curl
• Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curl
• Barbell Spider Curl (on incline bench)

• Rope Cable Pushdown
• Standing Overhead Dumbbell Extension
• Bench Dips (feet on bench)