I caught the workout bug late in my high school career when I discovered that in the year since I had stopped playing competitive sports, I had gained nearly fifty pounds. Since, then, I’ve spent the last six years experimenting and learning different ways to train my body for optimal performance.
For most men, the biggest goal at the gym is to gain incredible amounts of muscle until you can no longer straighten your gorilla sized arms. A lot of people think that the heavier the weight, the bigger the bicep. This is not necessarily true. The basic concept of time under tension is actually the key contributing factor to the growth and development of muscle tissue.
Time under tension refers to how long a certain muscle group is under strain during the performance of a specific exercise. The longer the tension, the more extensive the muscle breakdown and therefore, the bigger the growth.
For example: for increased muscle growth, it is actually better to do five very slow, sustained push ups, than it is to do 20 push ups as fast as you can. Time under tension leads to growth.
If time under tension is such an effective way the achieve muscle gain, why don't more men put it into practice? To put it simply, because tension is uncomfortable. If you watch most folks at the gym you’ll see them move the weight from a resting position(weight resting on shoulders) to a locked position (arms locked straight over head) as fast as they can. While this person may feel very strong because they can do 10 reps of 200 pounds on the military press, they will not see as much muscle growth because they avoided time under tension.*
I do not write this because I'm changing the concept of my site to be a fitness blog. I write this because I believe the principle of time under tension can be applied to every thing we do whether it be business, art, or even relationships.
All of us want to see growth in multiple areas of our lives, but when we look at our actions within those areas, we see that we're often moving from a resting position to a locked position as fast as we possible can. We opt for what is more comfortable. Even though it feels like we’re doing a lot of work, we will not experience much growth because we forgo any time under tension.
The endurance of tension is a pre-requisite to experiencing growth.
If you want to be a better writer, you must work through the tension caused by rejection from readers and book publishers. If you want your business to grow, you must continue to develop the product even when it feels like no one is interested. If you want a stronger marriage you'll have to endure some tense conversations. Time under tension cannot be skipped. You have to feel the burn. Eventually you'll learn to love the burn because you know that it means growth is occurring.