Lift Slow for Fast Gains

Time Under Tension for Maximum Muscle Growth

Exercise Descriptions

Lift Slow for Fast Gains - Time Under Tension for Maximum Muscle GrowthDo these exercises slowly and with good form: six seconds down and six seconds up.

Front Squats: Rest the bar on your upper chest with elbows up and fingers barely touching it. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Squat down until your thighs are below parallel. Let your thighs move outward as you squat, which will make it easier to maintain a neutral spine. Return smoothly to the starting position, extending the knees and hips at the same time. Do this exercise with dumbbells if you have trouble doing the exercise correctly with a barbell.

Back Squats: Begin the exercise standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Rest the bar on the back of your shoulders and hold it in that position with your hands. Keep your head up and lower back straight. Squat down (under control) until your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor and butt is about one inch lower than the knee. Let your thighs drift outward naturally, so that you “squat between your thighs” and hinge at your hips. Drive upward toward the starting position, keeping your back in a fixed position throughout the exercise.

Leg Extensions: Sit on the knee-extension bench and place your shins on the knee-extension pads. Extend your knees until they are straight, then return to the starting position.

Lying Leg Curls: Lie on your stomach, resting the pads of the machine just below your calf muscles. Flex your knees until they approach your buttocks, then return to the starting position.

Seated Shoulder Dumbbell Presses: Sit on a flat bench or incline bench (with the angle set at 90 degrees). Get the dumbbells to the starting position by kicking them with your knees to your shoulders. Press them overhead, two at a time. Return to the starting position.

Seated Side Laterals: Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing down (pronated grip); lift the weights on both sides until they reach shoulder level, and then return to the starting position. Bend your arms slightly if your elbows hurt.

Preacher Curls: Use a supinated grip to hold an E-Z bar, place both elbows on the preacher stand, and extend your arms fully. Bend your arms (“curl” the weight) until they almost reach your collarbone and then return to the starting position.

Skull-Crushers: Lie on a bench, grasping an E-Z bar using a pronated grip, hands 6 to 12 inches apart. Push the weight above your chest until your arms are extended (starting position). Keeping your elbows in a fixed position, carefully lower the weight until it touches your forehead, and then push the weight back to the starting position. Use a spotter for this exercise.

One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: Place your right knee and right arm on a bench and your left foot on the floor. Your back should be flat. Extend your left arm while holding a dumbbell with your left hand using a palms-in grip (pronated). Bring your left arm toward your chest in a rowing motion; return to the starting position and repeat the movement. Repeat with the right arm.

Barbell Bench Presses: Lie face up on bench and grasp the bar slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Have the spotter assist you to move the bar directly over your upper chest. Lower the bar to your upper chest and press the bar to the starting position.

Photos by Per Bernal

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