This article is authored by Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS. Opinions expressed may not be that of SMARTER Team Training, STT sponsors or constituents. Joe is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Director at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA, where he presides over the assessment, preparation, and implementation of training programs for athletes in grades 6 through 12 and a diverse and accomplished alumni base currently competing in college athletics and in a host of professional and amateur leagues.

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Read Tip #1 when you CLICK HERE – “Vary Your Rep Ranges”

The second of three tips may change how you look at each rep – Time Under Tension

Long championed by training aficionados and bodybuilders, Time Under Tension training, or TUT for short, has proven itself as an indispensable muscle building tool. Many successful bodybuilders train on the premise that muscles don’t know how much weight is on the bar, they only know tension. TUT is utilized to induce great amounts of mechanical tension and metabolic stress, two key ingredients in a muscle building recipe.

A typical lift is comprised of four components – an eccentric (lowering phase), the midpoint, the concentric (lifting phase), and finally, the pause at the top which concludes the movement.

The idea behind time of under tension is prolonging the amount of time they are exposed to stress eliminating the pause at the completion of the lift and accentuating the concentric and eccentric muscle actions or stopping at its midpoint. Time under training can be arranged in a myriad of ways to engage more muscle fibers, such as varying the tempo, or rep speed, while maintaining momentum free execution, the range of motion throughout the course of the set, or performing the lift for time. Recent research has indicated that eliminating momentum enhances the hypertrophic stimulus of time under tension (3).

Joe Giandonato also serves an adjunct instructor of exercise science and fitness electives at colleges throughout the Philadelphia-area. In addition to his coaching and teaching duties, Giandonato is also a contributing author on a number of health, fitness, and strength and conditioning websites, including Previously, Giandonato held stints at Saint Joseph’s University, where he assisted with their strength and conditioning program and at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he developed and availed health promotion programming in a number of departments. Giandonato can be reached via e-mail at


3. Arandjelovic O. Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013;113:135-145.