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Time Under Tension vs Overall Intensity?


Hi guys,

I'm having some trouble understanding what I should be more worried about when it comes to the "way" I lift.

Currently I'm cutting and trying to hold onto (even build) muscle.

My issue is I read a lot about things like time under tension and longer more overall taxing workouts being the best for maximising fat loss and keeping muscle.

I have only ever really lifted one way, HEAVY.
Basically my focus has always been to get into the gym and beat my weight and reps.
I pick heavy weights and I lift until failure on every set.

This has been working great for a while, but often i'll wear out quickly in a session which makes me wonder if i'm not spending enough time in the gym?
I know the easy answer to all this is to simply try it,
But i'm just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on things like this?

EG, lifting lighter weights for longer reps like 10-12, instead of around 6 which is what i'm doing now.
Or even pyramids like increasing weight over 3-4 sets and decrease reps?

I'm just a bit paranoid i'm wearing myself out too quickly and not getting possible benifits from being in the gym for longer.
Obviously what i'm doing is working, but maybe I could be missing something that could take it to the next level?

Apologies if this is a basic question but I've been reading up on SO many different approaches lately that all the information is getting too much/muddled.

Appreciate any posts in advance :slightly_smiling:


You could use a heavy/light routine (one workout heavy and the next TUT). This tends to work well if you hit a bodypart more than once a week. BB's of the 50's and 60's era used to train like this.


If you think your're ready to cut, do it by cutting calories and doing low intensity cardio. You will not 'convince' your body to keep the muscles if you do not lift heavy and switch to high volume. Keep your sessions short, ramp to your max set and see what happens.


Thank you,

I have been actually planning to start 2 days of chest per week.
At the moment my program is pretty exotic in the way it's split up, reason was to try and maximise the rest i'm getting (as advised by posters in my last thread on lacking chest dev).

I am thinking I might stick to my normal "core" heavy routine, but then add in a second day of chest at a lighter pace..
Once thing i've also been doing which I have no idea is bad or good is mixing up a lot of ad hoc "real world" work inbetween my lifting sessions.

Going to the park with a barbell and loading it up, carrying it around the field holding in diff positions and jogging/performing different movements.
I don't know whether it's working but i'm b*ggered :slightly_smiling:

Will try this lighter session for a week or two and see how I go.


Thanks brother,

It's not so much that i'm "ready to cut", because from all bodybuilding perspectives i've been going about this all the wrong way for the last 4-5 months.
When I started lifting seriously, 4 months ago (waits for the roars of laughter), I had absolutely no idea what I was doing..(I still don't but i'm only a beginner and i'm getting better all the time).
All I ever thought you did was eat 6 meals a day with protein shakes and lift so heavy that your muscles hurt the next day repeat.

So, really i've been "cutting" since I started lifting properly (with proper focus).
I was overweight and i've lost around 15KGs and put on decent muscle (I never bothered measuring what I was before 'muscle wise' but the mirror doesn't lie).

Having said that, I think what you're saying is 100percent correct given my experience that since i've been spending less time and lifting more intensely I have appeared to "gain" more, although I have also been losing weight which i'm sure is partly the reason for that.

Anyway, without droning on and running around "what if" town or "maybe it was" village, I think I should take your advice also and stay heavy :wink:

I was considering doing a "bulk"....which I will do eventually, but I've set myself a goal of being able to see my abs for the first time in my life by the end of Sept.
I think this is highly achievable although this has got me quite paranoid, because I have such little time I am worried I'm stuffing things up that could be done better.

As you might have guessed i'm freaking out a little bit about it.


The adage I've heard countless times is "what built the muscle will allow you to keep the muscle", meaning that if you used heavy weights for 90% of your training that allowed you to bulk up in the first place, then even though you're going to be on some sort of cal restriction, keep hitting it heavy and hard.



Thanks so much Stu,

You've taken the time to reply to a couple of my threads now,

I've actually been stalking a few of your older threads while browsing and really picking up a lot from reading them! So cheers for that really appreciate it!

I guess I just need to keep hitting it hard.

Sorry guys if that was too simple a question for a thread of it's own.

Stu, hate to bother you but would you mind me PMing you some time to ask a few basic questions about approaching a "competition date".
I'm not competing but I feel like I am because I've set a date to have a particular composition level by, and even though i've planned for it I'm feeling like I'm going to FAIL!



The Plebes at the United States Naval Academy do an hour and a half of running, pushups, sit ups, stuff like that 6 days/week (before breakfast) and most of them looked a helluva lot better than most everyone here. My son put on 7 pounds since July 1st and is leaner. I'm beginning to think that most people would be better off doing what they do. Who wants to be HYYYUUUGGGEEEEE but huff and puff after running up a flight of stairs? Fuck that.


Read a book a while back on BUDS training for the SEALS, those guys were ripped to all sh*t :slight_smile:
I do a lot of that ad hoc stuff mixed in with my gym sessions, like circuit based complexes with pushups/pullups and weird stuff.

Somewhere between the "Oh look i'm accidently ripped" and "He works out hard" is what i'm going for.
I'm sure once I get there though my goals will change.
The beauty of the iron :slight_smile:
It's always waiting to say "So what are we going to do today?"
Love it.


60 minutes of weight training IS demanding on the cardiovascular system if you are doing it right.

Being HYYYYYUUUUUGGGGEEEEEE and getting out of breath going up a flight of stairs is yet another myth perpetuated by the uneducated public.

I bet your average natural bodybuilder is at least if not in better shape than the average soldier.


Sure but this is a "new" program for them. Most have probably never done anything that has caused them to break a sweat in their lives so of course they will respond to a program like this. It won't last and soon they will need to do more advanced lifting and conditioning to make gains.


How long are your workouts? I would continue lifting heavy, but in the 8-10 rep range.


The Plebes must be serious about their business all the time. T-members don't. Sadly enough, there are lots of people here who do things in half-assed manner. So there's no point comparing the two groups. If you really want to do that, consider the way the above-average guys here are built and they beat freshmen easily.

If you talk about newbies, almost everything will do the trick when your body gets proper diet and activity for the first time. But I think BW exes. can only get you to a certain point. If the OP already has experience with weights, claims some muscle gains and wants to continue with bodybuilding, there's no reason to substitute weights with bodyweight exes only.


"Time under tension" does not = length of time spent in the gym. It means the length of a given set.


TUT could also mean total time under tension throughout the workout.


RicciR- Put up any questions you've got bro. I get a low of PMs, and certainly don't mind given my opinions.

Headhunter- Training to be a bodybuilder should not be compared to getting in shape for the military. One of my current training partners as well as a very close friend both put in YEARS in the service and then started training in a hypertrophy based manner afterward. BOTH of them will admit to being in better 'condition' while in the service, but as far as looking bigger, or even more muscular?

You're comparing apples to oranges. Also your comment about being out of breath from going up stairs? Anyone who weighs over 250 lbs will obviously have a harder time completing such a task with their own bodyweight than someone who weighs under 150 lbs (that's regardless if they're a hyoooge bodybuilder, or just some fat ass coach sloth).

Besides, when a drill sergeant is telling you what to do every day,.. isn't that a bit like having a qualified trainer guide you day in and day out? How can you compare that to newbs on here who still don't know what they're doing in the gym? And gaining 7 lbs in 1 month? I know you're proud of your son, but he must have been training and eating horribly to be able to make that sort of progress -lol.



A lot of that depends on what kind of shape you were in before plebe summer. I lost A LOT of strength and muscle but my mile and 1/2 got a little faster. Personally the trade off wasn't worth it for me.

As long as I can run the PRT in under 10min then strength and size are what I'm looking for. Hopefully your son can stay in shape during the AC year, a lot of people put the weight and then some back on (nutrition here is a joke). What company is he in?


HH is a known troll, don't even bother.


Just about everyone there was doing a varsity sport or two in high school, with football being a preferred sport. Met a lot of people who do Crew (my son did FB and Crew). I truly saw no one at all who didn't look in shape. They looked in way better shape than the vast majority of teens I've seen, and I teach high school.

Nothing at all against weights, but I now think they should supplement an excellent conditioning program like they have at USNA.


What have I said here that's the least bit trollish? Get a life, dude.