Time Under Tension

So the objective here is to challenge the muscle to continue to exert itself to the point where it starts to fail from both muscle damage and a buildup of lactic acid (which is a byproduct of the glycogen muscle system).

To really increase time under tension though, we’re not only interested in curling weights for longer sets, we’re also interested in manipulating our technique such that it will increase the time we spend contracting.

This means, for instance, that you’ll be curling the weight without ever quite putting it completely down. You’ll be stopping just short of fully locking out the arm and you’ll be stopping just short of moving the weight all the weight to the top.

Another way to increase time under tension is simply to slow down your repetitions. By slowing the repetitions down more, you spend more time contracting and you also force better technique, more concentration and great muscle fiber recruitment.

Note that this type of weight lifting still needs to create muscle damage. You still need to progress and that means you’re still aiming to create some microtears. This is where elaborate intensity techniques come in, which involve doing things like curling or pressing very heavy weight, only to then drop immediately to a slightly lower weight (drop set).

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