TUT and Recovery

TUT-Time under tension, or exercise speed, is the amount of time necessary to perform one rep of a specific exercise.

When coming up with a proper way to determine the TUT for a particular exercise, the 4 Number System is the easiest method. This method includes the time it takes to lower (eccentric), the midpoint, the lifting (concentric), and the rest or contraction at the start (finish point).

Using the squat as an example, if the TUT is 3111, the lift would go as follows:

3 seconds to lower

1 second stop at the bottom

1 second to lift

1 second at the top for a pause

When dealing with novice lifters, it is best to keep the TUT longer or more drawn out to improve body control, stability and general proprioceptive awareness. Oftentimes beginners will move as quickly as possible throughout the repetition in an effort to get the set over as quickly as possible.

With more experienced lifters, the TUT can and should be adjusted in accordance with the goal or purpose of the exercise. (Ex. Power, strength, hypertrophy, etc.)

The last component that must be addressed is the rest intervals and recovery between sets. This is an area that most strength coaches tend to overlook.  Depending on the goal of the workout, the table below best describes how the rest will affect the neural and metabolic recovery.


Adapted from King I, How to Write Strength Training Programs: A Practical Guide: 2nd ed. Reno, NV: King Sports Publishing; 2001



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