# How much does tensioned pause in the exercise increases in the effort?

First please correct me if using incorrect english terms. I'm very used to write in IT english forums, but fitness is an area I'm not familiar with the proper language.

I started doing bodybuilding 3 months ago and since the start I wanted to maintain a record of my training in order to see which machines/exercices I was progressing less and then my teachers at the gym could have the info of what I needed most. So each time I increased the weight, I writed down the date, how much I increased and the number of days since last evolution.

This works fine until the training changes. If I made let's say 3 series of 15 reps with a machine, how would this compare to 4 series of 10 ? And if the weight changes ?

To solve this and see the evolution between different trainings I created a per-machine effort index multiplying the series versus reps versus weight so I could see the change whenever each of these parameters changed.

Example: let's say I do 4 series of 15 reps with 20kg weight in a machine. My index for that particular machine would be 3x15x20=900. Let's say I increased the weight to 25: 3x15x25=1125. Now if in the next quarter or so my teacher changes the series/reps to 4x12 I know that if I can maintain the weight I have evolved as 4x12x25 = 1200.

Seem to work, if it wasn't for a detail*: the tensioned pauses in the middle of the exercise maintaing tension that add a lot of effort to it. For example in Pec Deck machine I pull the handles and have to maintain it in the front of my chest holding the weight for some seconds. In the Leg curl/extension machine I make 15 reps then hold it for 10s then more 12 reps without stop.

I can put series, reps and weight in the index easily. But how I had the 10s stop to the index ? I thought I could estimate a percentage based just in my perceived added effort, but that would be too error prone.

Anyone know a good way to introduce the tensioned pauses time into this effort index ?

*I don't know the correct term in english, so I explained the best I could, please let me know the best name for what I called "tensioned pauses". Thanks

To solve this and see the evolution between different trainings I created a per-machine effort index multiplying the series versus reps versus weight so I could see the change whenever each of these parameters changed.

Example: let's say I do 4 series of 15 reps with 20kg weight in a machine. My index for that particular machine would be 3x15x20=900.

This is usually called "tonnage". It's not a good method for measuring either progress or difficulty. The reason for this is that the number of reps you can does not inversely correlate with the weight you are using. To continue your example, let's say you reduced the weight to 15kg, which would likely be so light that you could probably do 40 reps. If you did three sets of this, your equation is now 3x40x15=1800. So you have doubled your index for this exercise even though you are no stronger than when you were doing sets of 15 reps at 20kg. This indicates that the index cannot be relied on to track either progress or difficulty of an exercise.

A much more reliable and more common method of tracking progress when training in different repetition counts is to estimate your one-repetition maximum (1RM) for each exercise. This is the most amount of weight that you could lift once. If you are training at lower rep ranges, such as 10 reps or fewer to complete fatigue, there are calculators available that can estimate your 1RM. However these become very inaccurate at higher rep counts, so may not work if you are doing as many as 12-15 reps.

the tensioned pauses in the middle of the exercise maintaing tension that add a lot of effort to it. For example in Pec Deck machine I pull the handles and have to maintain it in the front of my chest holding the weight for some seconds. In the Leg curl/extension machine I make 15 reps then hold it for 10s then more 12 reps without stop.

This is a very unusual method of training, and there isn't a name for it. You are effectively combining normal (or "isotonic") repetitions with isometric (tension without moving) exertions into the same set. There is a concept called "paused exercised", in which you do a tensioned pause for a few seconds in the middle of every rep (e.g. pausing at the bottom of a squat), however that is not the same as what you are describing.

The easy solution would be to just not do the pauses, and instead do a higher number of reps, or fewer reps at a heavier weight, until you are fatigued. However if you must do your exercises like this, the only way I can think of to quantify their difficulty would be as follows.

1. Do a set of normal repetitions, without a pause, until failure (when you cannot lift any more).
2. Rest completely, i.e. wait at least a day, and then do the same exercise with the same weight, but only holding the tensioned pause, not doing any repetitions, and time how long you can hold the pause.
3. Calculate how many seconds of pause are equivalent to one repetition of movement.

E.g. If you were able to do 15 reps or a 45 second hold with 20kg of weight on the same machine, then you can assume that every 3 seconds of tensioned pause is equivalent to one extra repetition. So then if you did 5 reps, then a 15 second pause, then another 5 reps, that would be equivalent to 15 reps.

You would need to repeat this assessment for every different exercise that you are doing pauses on, ad would probably need to re-take your measurement occasionally in case the isometric-isotonic endurance relationship changes as you get stronger.

1. Your initial formula is just calculating training volume, many fitness apps do that automatically if you want.

2. The pauses under tension you're doing sound like isometric training. It's a technique used to increase strength. You could just include the pause length in your formula multiplied by the number of reps you pause (it seems like you're not pausing every rep). If you can't perform all your reps in that set that's a good indicator that you used close to maximum effort.

3. If you include the time it takes to move the weight you're talking about time under tension (TUT). So a 4-1-1-0 tempo for a back squat would have you lowering for a four-second count, pausing for one second at the bottom, taking one second to stand up, and then not pausing at the top. Just something else to consider.

So a simple formula could be:

`Volume = (Reps × Sets × Load)+(Load × TUT)`

A more complete formula:

``````Dynamic Volume = Reps × Sets × Load

Isometric Volume = Load × TUT × Reps × Sets

Total Volume = Dynamic Volume + Isometric Volume
``````

You could simplify it by converting the TUT into Equivalent Reps.

You could standardize the isometric pause by converting time into an equivalent number of reps based on the expected duration of a dynamic rep. For example, if one dynamic rep typically lasts 2 seconds, each 2-second isometric hold could be equated to 1 rep.

First determine the Duration of a Dynamic Rep; Let's say a dynamic rep takes approximately 2 seconds. Then convert Isometric TUT to Equivalent Reps. For a 2-second hold:

`Equivalent Reps = Time per Dynamic Rep / TUT = 2s / 2s = 1 rep`

Then For each set:

`Adjusted Reps per Set = Dynamic Reps + Equivalent Isometric Reps`

Finally recalculate Volume:

`Adjusted Volume = Adjusted Reps × Sets × Load`