Time Under Tension For Hypertrophy


Written by: ASN



Time to read 4 min

Are you trying to maximise your hypertrophy? We know you’re training hard and smashing those personal bests, but you might be overlooking something simple - time under tension.

Time under tension training helps to create tension in your muscles for a more extended period, leading to muscle growth and strength. The harder you push your muscles, the better results you can achieve.

What is hypertrophy training & time under tension training?

If you’re trying to increase the size of your muscles, hypertrophy training is the way to go. Hypertrophy refers to the increase and growth of muscle cells, which is achieved through exercise. This form of training focuses primarily on developing your muscles. This includes increasing the size of your muscle fibres and developing large muscles in certain areas. Hypertrophy training focuses on moderate weight and repetitions (WebMD. 2021).

Time under tension (TUT) is pretty straightforward. It refers to the amount of time that your muscles are held under tension or strain during an exercise set, and it is achieved by lengthening each phase of the movement to make your sets last longer (Cronkleton, E. 2020).

So, why would you do something that clearly sounds like it will make you suffer? Because it forces your muscles to work harder, which can improve muscular strength, endurance, and growth.

How to implement TUT training?

Think you should incorporate this into your training? We’ll show you out it’s done.

Incorporating TUT training into your routine isn’t difficult at all; you simply need to slow things down. Performing movements at a slower tempo can help to stimulate the muscles more, which in turn stimulates growth (Cronkleton, E. 2020).

Because of the nature of this technique, you may find that you need to drop to a lighter weight in order to manage the increased time that each rep takes to perform. So, if you find those 8kg dumbbells suddenly feel unbearable, don’t worry. You haven’t lost strength. Slowing things down just makes the weight more difficult to sustain. But, we will preface that by saying - don’t do anything that you feel could result in injury. Know your limits.

If you’re looking to add TUT training to your regime, consider incorporating it into some of these exercises:





Incline dumbbell chest press


Dumbbell push-ups

Bicep curls

How to improve time under tension

We know it’s not easy to completely readjust the way you’re used to training, but there are a few methods you can incorporate to try and help you incorporate TUT.

Set a timer and focus on slower, controlled movements within that amount of time

Finish with one set at an even slower tempo

Rest between sets

Use cable machines

Don’t pause at the bottom of a lift

Drop the weight so that you can control the weight

Perform partial reps

Slow down

What is the ideal amount of repetitions for building mass?

On average, you probably do 3-4 sets of most exercises, ranging between 10-15 reps. If you want to incorporate TUT into your routine, stop focusing on hitting a specific number of reps and turn your attention to timed sets.

A typical set of 10 reps can take anywhere from 15-25 seconds, depending on lifting speed. By putting longer lengths of strain on your muscles, you can cause a more extensive muscle breakdown, which can improve the quality of your muscle pumps during training while improving muscle strength and volume (DuVall, J. 2022).

If you’re trying to achieve hypertrophy and build mass, consider doing at least 4-6 reps of about 6-12 repetitions for each exercise. Make sure you’re using a weight that is heavy enough to provoke muscle fatigue and make sure you focus on spending more time doing the difficult part of the exercise, which is usually the eccentric phase (lengthening) (Cronkleton, E. 2020).

What is the ideal length of time under each set?

The ideal length of time to apply TUT for hypertrophy is 4 seconds per rep. For example, 10 reps at 4 seconds per rep are equivalent to 40 seconds. Depending on how many reps you’re doing per set, you should typically aim for a TUT range of 40-60 seconds for hypertrophy. If you were performing fewer reps (for instance, 6), then you will want to make sure that you slow down each rep to ensure you are still working out your muscles within the best range to achieve hypertrophy (Simply Shredded).

It is equally important to allow your muscles to rest between sets, typically for one minute, to allow your muscles to recover before continuing.

Don’t forget to fuel your muscles after training if you want to increase your hypertrophy. A hard-working protein formula like BSN Syntha-6 can support muscle growth, recovery and muscular endurance, ensuring your muscles are replenished with six different types of protein to optimise your results.

Does range of motion affect TUT?

Your range of motion (ROM) is the capability of a joint to go through its complete spectrum of movements. Training with a larger range of motion can cause more hypertrophy, which can lead to improved muscle growth and strength gain (Wolf, G et al. 2022).

Time under tension doesn’t have to limit your range of motion, and you should be able to complete both full and partial ranges of motion without sacrificing TUT.

The Bottom Line

Basically, if you’re trying to improve hypertrophy and build muscle mass, strength and endurance, don’t overlook the value of adding time under tension training to your regime. Whether that means dropping the weights or adding a few new exercises to your routine, your muscles will thank you for it in the long run.

If you need help finding the right products to help you improve hypertrophy and maximise your recovery after TUT training, visit us in-store or reach out online, and our friendly team can help you find the right products.


WebMD. 2021, ‘The Difference Between Strength Training and Hypertrophy Training’, WebMD, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-strength-hypertrophy#:~:text=Hypertrophy%20training%20focuses%20mostly%20on,moderate%20weight%20and%20moderate%20repetitions.

Cronkleton, E. 2020, ‘Time Under Tension Workouts: Are They More Effective?’ Healthline, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/time-under-tension

DuVall, J. 2022, ‘Get big with ‘time under tension’, Men’s Journal, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/gain-big-with-time-under-tension-training

Cronkleton, E. 2020, ‘Time Under Tension Workouts: Are They More Effective?’ Healthline, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/time-under-tension

Simply Shredded. ‘Time Under Tension: The Scientifically Engineered Set-Timing Technique’, Simply Shredded, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/time-under-tension

Wolf, G et al. 2022, ‘Longer And Stronger: How Range Of Motion And Muscle Lengths Affect Muscle Growth And Strength Gains’, Stronger By Science, accessed 30 March 2023, https://www.strongerbyscience.com/rom/#:~:text=First%2C%20training%20through%20a%20longer,lead%20to%20larger%20strength%20gains.