When it comes to training, most of us know that when we are training for strength, we do sets that consist of 2-6 reps with long rests in between sets, and when we are training for hypertrophy (muscle gain), we do sets that consist of 8-12 reps with half the rest period between sets compared to strength training. Obviously, we for both of these training methods, we need to use as heavy weights as possible while still achieving the desired rep ranges. Although this is the general rule when training to achieve these attributes (strength & hypertrophy), often our bodies adapt to these methods and we reach a plateau.


Today I want to try something a bit different. In this workout, we are going to subject our muscles to more time under tension. We are going to do this by varying our rep timing. Often, most people in the gym, lift with a tempo of 0.5-0-0.5. The best way to explain this is by using an example of a bench press. As they lower the weight, they do it for half a count (0.5), when they get to the bottom of the movement, they don’t pause before they lift the weight back up, this is where 0 comes in and then they lift the weight for another half a count (0.5). For more info on rep timing and how to count it out, check out my article entitled ‘Rep Timing 101’.


When it comes to bodybuilding, a common rep timing is 2-1-2 but in this workout, we are going to slow it down even further to 4-1-4. This is to place our targeted muscle under tension for an extended period of time. Besides intensifying the workout, it will also recruit more muscle fibers to perform the movement.


To maximise potential muscle gain, time under tension should range from 30-60 seconds per set with 3-4 sets and rest periods of 1-2 minutes. In this workout, we are going to aim for the lower to mid range of the time under tension range (30-45 seconds) just to get you going.


Example of time under tension using a 4-1-4 rep timing:


Time to lower the weight = 4 count
Pause = 1 count
Time to lift the weight = 4 count


Total time under tension = 4+1+4
= 9 seconds


In order for us to reach the 30 second plus range, we will need to perform a minimum of 4 reps.
Now that you understand how it works, let’s get into the workout.



Monday – Shoulders


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Timing
Dumbbell Press
4
4-5
4-1-4
Side Laterals
3
4-5
4-1-4
Rear Delt Fly
3
4-5
4-1-4
Upright Row
3
4-5
4-1-4


Tuesday – Arms


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Timing
Preacher Curl
4
4-5
4-1-4
Dumbbell Curl (alternate arms)
3
4-5
4-1-4
Close Grip Bench Press (EZ Bar)
4
4-5
4-1-4
Seated Dumbbell Extension (2 arm)
3
4-5
4-1-4


Wednesday – Legs


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Timing
Squats
4
4-5
4-1-4
Leg Extension
3
4-5
4-1-4
Leg Curl
3
4-5
4-1-4
Stiff Leg Deadlifts (Dumbbell)
3
4-5
4-1-4
Seated Calf Raise
5
4-5
4-1-4


Thursday – Back


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Timing
Barbell Rows
4
4-5
4-1-4
Lat Pull Down
4
4-5
4-1-4
V-Bar Pull Down
3
4-5
4-1-4
Hyper Extension
3
4-5
4-1-4


Friday – Chest


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Timing
Flat Dumbbell Press
4
4-5
4-1-4
Incline Dumbbell Press
4
4-5
4-1-4
Incline Flys
3
4-5
4-1-4
Cable Crossover
3
4-5
4-1-4

Please note that we have not included abs in this workout. Abs should be included in your workouts at least 2-5 times a week but it is not entirely necessary to perform a time under tension workout for them unless you really want to.


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