I've read a few articles that the best way to gain muscle is Time under Tension (TUT) - none of the articles recommended whether it was TUT with heavy weights low reps or light weights and high reps....basically, there doesn't seem to be any 'standard' approach to max'ing the TUT. So my question is: based on your experience, is there a good TUT? does this change the temp I should be using (standard 2-0-2) to something more extreme (10-4-10)??? I remember reading some book about a 10 second miracle approach to muscle growth. Does this apply to hypertrophy? or to strength and power also?
I've found a couple resources about TUT:
- Time Under Tension in your Training Program (on Bodybuilding.com)
- Time Under Tension: The Scientifically Engineered Set-Timing Technique (on Simplyshredded.com)
The first article provides some reasonable background and ways to troubleshoot your TUT application. For example, if your goal for TUT in a set is unrealistic given the movement, you can add more sets. Examples of movements that don't work well with TUT would be any explosive or ballistic movement like Olympic lifts or kettlebell swings.
The second article goes into a lot more practical application along with a chart that has optimal rep and TUT ranges:
I think you'll find that you want to use the heaviest weight you can for your target TUT. You'll also find that different timings will address problems. For example, pause bench and pause squats help build power from the bottom of the lift. You don't need a long pause, simply long enough to stop the bar motion.
There is an inverse relationship between the time under tension and the max weight you will be able to lift like that. If you are intentionally going slow, adjust the weight down. If your bar speed is simply a result of how well you can control the bar at that weight, you can work on increasing the speed of the bar.
The biggest take away from both of these articles is to not get overworked on one tempo. Varying the tempo helps you focus on the eccentric part of the lift, or the concentric part of the lift. If you find the bar path is erratic on that phase of the lift slow it down until you can control the bar properly. Then work on speeding it back up with higher weight. A possible approach would be to go fast on weight increases, then slow down at the new weight. There is no one best. Just play with the timing to address your current needs.