It may surprise you to learn that it doesn’t matter whether you want a lean physique like a dancer or a massive, hulking frame like a bodybuilder; there are certain universal tricks that apply to all types of strength training, regardless of your goal. Apply these concepts, and you cannot fail
Too often you see people at the gym pumping through repetitions at breakneck speed. They throw weights around with little or no control. This is often due to their weights being too light or too heavy. Either way, the results are diminished, and the likelihood of injury is increased exponentially when exercises are done fast.
Slow each repetition way down, the slower the better. Now, don’t misunderstand me; you shouldn’t go ridiculously slow (as one exercise fad proposed), just slow enough to be able to control the weight through the entire range of motion. If you need specific numbers, think of it as a slow count of two on the raising of the weight, then slightly slower on the down, or lowering, phase of the movement, a slow count of three.
TUT stands for time under tension. In strength training it means that we want to keep the tension on the muscle we are working for as long as possible. When we throw weights around, we have very little muscle TUT. When we slow down, the TUT increases dramatically. The better you get at developing your TUT skills, the greater your results will be.
Know that this skill takes time to develop. It involves the recruitment of muscle fibers. The more experience you have lifting weights, the more muscle fibers you will be able to recruit. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the stronger and more toned you will be. You can develop this skill by focusing on the muscle you are working, slowing the movement down, and keeping the tension on that muscle from start to finish.
Accentuate The Negative.
All these principles are interrelated. In order to slow down the exercises and focus on the muscle TUT, we also have to accentuate the negative, or down, phase of the exercise. This is the part of the movement that so many people just “throw away. They allow gravity or momentum to take over, missing an essential component of the movement. Take the squat, for example.
As most people squat down, they really just fall, allowing gravity to move their body down toward the earth. They then work to raise their body, then fall all over again. This is incredibly ineffective, yet people do it with almost every exercise.
Men: Leggo The Ego
And lift lighter weights that don’t require momentum and allow you to use good form. Unless you are a powerlifter (I’m not sure too many powerlifters will be reading this book, but if you are one, hey, thanks for buying it!), ego will keep you from reaching your goals. Ego will also get you hurt. Suck it up for an hour and go lighter.
What are your true goals? To show off to the guys around you, or to look and feel your best? I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached in the gym and asked if I were hurt. Sometimes people think that because I look strong yet am lifting lighter weights than they would expect, I must be hurt.