A recent survey showed that most young and middle-aged men felt self-conscious about poor muscle mass in their chest, shoulders and abs. They wanted to look muscular and fit but really didn’t know how to achieve it. If you’ve tried just about everything but still seeing the results you want, we may have the answer: Time under tension is the key to building muscle and promoting muscle protein synthesis.
Conventional wisdom is that high resistance and low reps build strength best and that multiple sets of moderately heavy weights (i.e., 80% of max) promote muscle hypertrophy. However, new scientific research suggests that pushing the muscles to the max using lighter weights might be the key to greater muscle growth – at least in recreational strength athletes. This might not be the best way to build strength for power athletes, but it provides a safe, effective, and fast way to build muscle mass and decrease body fat for most guys.
Metabolic stress is the key to building muscle mass and cutting fat. Sophisticated new studies that measured rates of protein synthesis and gene activation showed that high volume training using moderately heavy weights triggered muscle protein synthesis better than programs using heavy weights and low reps. High volume creates metabolic stress that promotes muscle growth, activates genes controlling protein synthesis, and stimulates hormones that help release and break down fat.
Time under tension— the total time it takes to do a series of muscle contractions— is critical for building mass. Lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions develops plenty of tension, but the stress doesn’t last long. Training with moderately heavy weights for higher volumes and minimizing rest periods between sets maximizes metabolic stress, increases growth hormone levels, and activates biochemical pathways that build muscle size.
The Dynamic Tension Workout uses the latest scientific knowledge in sports medicine to build muscle and cut fat fast and effectively. We selected exercises based on sophisticated electromyographic studies that identified the best ones for building and toning muscles in the shortest possible time. The order of exercises and rest intervals maximize the release of powerful hormones, such as testosterone, IGF-1 (a muscle growth factor), and growth hormone that promote muscle hypertrophy and cut fat.
The Dynamic Tension Workout maximizes time under tension by using a moderate load (50 to 80% of one-repetition max), high volume (8 to 12 repetitions), and a slow lifting cadence of 6 seconds up and 6 seconds down. The program uses supersets with little rest between sets to save time and push the muscles as much as possible.
Supersets are one of the best ways to build muscle in the shortest time possible. The exercises are arranged in pairs that target key muscle groups. Do the first exercise followed immediately by the second exercise and then do the superset a second time. Rest for one minute, and then do the next pair of exercises in the same way. Supersets involve working a muscle group, then immediately working another muscle group, giving the first muscle group exercised a rest.
Supersets satisfy the most important stimuli for building muscle— high levels of muscle tension applied for a long time. At the end of this short but intense workout, you have stressed your legs, hips, shoulders, lats, arms and abs to the max. The hard work not only builds muscles but also burns a lot of calories during and after the workout.
Dynamic tension uses a slow lifting cadence of six seconds up and six seconds down. Doing only one set of 8 repetitions causes temporary exhaustion of the muscles and turns on chemical pathways that cause rapid muscle hypertrophy. Different studies by Canadian and by Australian researchers found that training to failure using lighter weights resulted in greater muscle protein synthesis than training to failure using heavier weights for fewer repetitions. Lighter weights allowed people to do more reps during the workout. The low-weight, high-volume workout enhanced muscle growth for 24 to 30 hours, compared to the heavy weight group, which peaked at four hours after training.
Do the exercises in each superset without stopping, rest one minute and then do the next superset. For example, do one set of front squats, one set of back squats, one set of front squats, and one set of back squats; rest one minute; do the next superset (leg extensions and leg curls) in the same way. Do each repetition slowly— six seconds up and six seconds down. Use a light weight that is approximately 50 to 60 percent of one repetition maximum. For even better results, consume a high protein shake after weight training, do 30 to 60 minutes of aerobics three to five times per week, and cut food intake by about 200 calories per day.