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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
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How Important is Time Under Tension?
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Dave Price

New Jersey, USA

Hi Dr. Darden

Have a question regarding Time Under Tension. How important is this factor in weight training. From the reading of your books I am familiar with the fact that its is suggested exercises be performed in a slow smooth cadence. This permits safe handling of the weight, more effective load, better form which is very important; these just being the reasons off the top of my head of why exercises should be performed slowly.

Also it came to me that when I perform some exercise I always try to do them slowly, however It does not seem like I am in the window of 60-90 seconds which is suggested to be a good Time Under Tension for the duration of the set. I am suspecting I should lower my weights to get myself in that time window with my sets even if it allows more reps. Or would this be incorrect and just go by how many repetitions are completed.

Thanks a bunch for you time.
Dave Price
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Ellington Darden

Dave,

Time under tension is an important concept, but you also have to consider the exercise. Is the exercise single or multiple joint? Is a lockout involved? Are you resting between reps?

Sixty to 90 seconds might be a starting place for you, but it needs to be refined as you progress and try various exercises.

Generally, 60 seconds (8-10 reps) seems to work best with the upper body and 90 seconds (12-15 reps) for the lower body. But there are many exceptions to these generalizations.

Ellington
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waynegr

Switzerland

Just having a muscle under tension is not relevant, its the amount of tension a muscle is under.

You cant maintain maximum motor unit recruitment for more than 15-20 seconds, based on the physiological limitations of your largest muscle fibers. Your largest muscle fibers rely on the ATP-PC energy system that supports short, powerful, fast bursts of activity, think of a 100M race.

Essentially, at the end of those very long sets youve simply forced your smaller motor units to do the brunt of the work; these smaller motor units do NOT have the most potential for size and strength.

If the set lasts any longer than 15 to 20 seconds, the biggest motor units have taken a break, and your biggest and strongest motor units that have the MOST potential for size and strength gains.

All you need to understand about this system is that it has a limited energy supply and it runs out within 15 too 20 seconds. This is why you cant lift 90% of your 1RM for 20 reps.

Wayne
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southbeach

15-20 secs, wayne? where is your reference for this figure? how come maximum isometric does not work?
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waynegr

Switzerland

southbeach wrote:
15-20 secs, wayne? where is your reference for this figure? how come maximum isometric does not work?


I will post the articles link tomorrow.

Wayne

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waynegr

Switzerland

southbeach wrote:
15-20 secs, wayne? where is your reference for this figure? how come maximum isometric does not work?


http://www.T-Nation.com/...o?id=1773659&cr

The Secret to Motor Unit Recruitment
by Chad Waterbury

Chad has many other fine articles on muscle fibers, they are all at the cutting edge of the most up to date Muscle/Motor fiber unit recruitment research and muscle physiology.

Wayne
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Annibal Franco

waynegr wrote:
southbeach wrote:
15-20 secs, wayne? where is your reference for this figure? how come maximum isometric does not work?

http://www.T-Nation.com/...o?id=1773659&cr

The Secret to Motor Unit Recruitment
by Chad Waterbury

Chad has many other fine articles on muscle fibers, they are all at the cutting edge of the most up to date Muscle/Motor fiber unit recruitment research and muscle physiology.

Wayne


There are more recent studies which should be considered.This study of Schoenfeld is close to what is stated by Dr. Darden.

https://www.T-Nation.com/...e-under-tension

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Nwlifter

Some of those articles are pretty off based on actual physiology...

Muscle fibers don't have a time limit, we can't just say 20 seconds for example, when we lift weights, it's anisometric, recruitment is rising and falling as joint angles change. Now if we did a long, literal maximum isometric, then the FT's would be pretty fatigued by that time. They don't 'drop out' they just lose lots of force as time goes on. But during normal contractions, there is a LOT of time during the contractions for tension to drop, blood to flow, etc, so FT fibers can go for quite a while.

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