The average fitness buff heading into the gym looking to build some muscle and size probably does 3-4 sets of anywhere from 6-10 reps.That’s a pretty large range for a workout without even considering lifting speed or intensity.

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In short, TUT refers to how long the muscle is under strain during a set.

A typical set of 10 repetitions for an average lifter will take anywhere from 15-25 seconds depending on lifting speed.

Duration of stimulus and tension are key factors in determining muscle growth.

By putting the muscle under longer bouts of strain, you can cause extensive muscle breakdown leading to sleeve-busting muscles.

Time your sets so they last between 30 and 40 seconds for optimum muscle growth.

This length of time ensures the muscles are receiving enough of a stimulus to spur changes in muscle size. Avoid spending long amounts of time during the easiest portion of an exercise (at the top of a bench press for instance). A typical tempo in seconds for each rep during a set would be 2/4/0 (lifting, lowering, pause). Spend more time on the eccentric portion of the movement.

Total length of time is important, but how you get there is also crucial. The easiest part of a lift presents the least amount of stress on your muscles. That refers to the lowering portion when your muscle is slowly elongating. With the longer sets, fatigue will set in and compromise form. Struggling to finish off those last few reps, drop down in weight and immediately continue the exercise. Simply lifting till the buzzer doesn’t guarantee increases in size.

Slowing down the eccentric portion of the lift causes more muscle damage and hence encourages more growth. Make sure you don’t cheat yourself and miss out on gains by breaking form or doing partial reps. You’ll last the entire duration of the set and won’t need to cheat to get through it. The weight and exercise need to be challenging enough to cause muscle fatigue towards the end of the set.

Use at least 60% of your 1-rep max for a lift to maximize gains.