Become the king of TUT and rule your workout – Times News Online

Published September 12. 2020 12:41AM

I sometimes say it in class; I occasionally write it in columns. Knowledge creates something more important than book smarts.

It creates options. Alternatives to poverty or obesity or whatever. A way to say goodbye to a bad way of life.

But in today’s world, acquiring knowledge comes with a caveat. There’s so much of it that you can get lost in it. Instead of saying goodbye to an old problem, you say hello to a new one.

Information overload.

That’s why, for instance, any time the guys from George’s Plumbing & Heating explain my options for correcting the problem that caused me to call them, I simply tell them to do what they feel is best.

They are able, honest, and far more knowledgeable in such matters than I. Also, there’s only so much open space left in this brain of mine.

I want to save it for information about things like weightlifting, not water heaters.

Many of you probably feel about health and fitness the way I feel about plumbing and heating. That it’s important, something you don’t want to neglect, but … there’s only so much open space left in that brain of yours.

Besides, when you read that health and fitness stuff, you seem to get more eye strain and information overload than useful knowledge.

Take weightlifting, for example. Unless you have a one-in-a-million medical problem, you should be doing some form of it no less than twice a week.

But how much weight should you use? For how many reps?

Should you primarily work your core muscles and develop functional strength or work the prime movers and add muscle? Should you circuit train lightly and quickly to tone the muscles and eliminate the time spent on the elliptical machine?

Should you use barbells and dumbbells, machines, resistance bands, or just your body weight?

Enough already. If you’re not feeling the effects of information overload by now, you either have a degree in the exercise sciences or are the girl of my dreams.

If you’re neither, it’s no sweat. Let me be your George’s Heating & Plumbing – without the house call. Information overload about weightlifting can be mitigated by a single acronym: TUT.

It stands for Time Under Tension and can be used along with your instincts to answer that litany of should-you questions. To illustrate how, do the following hypothetically: grab a rubber ball and squeeze it as hard as you possibly can.

Don’t let up the least bit as you do the weightlifting motion called the biceps curl. Keep squeezing, keep curling, and estimate how many reps you could do while squeezing at 100 percent.

If you say 25, I say you’re lying.

Yes, I am sure you could possibly do 25 with such a forceful squeeze that sweat beads on your forehead and you feel short of breath, but somewhere in the teens what feels as hard as 100 percent becomes 98 percent, then 97, then 95 … But all those reps at less-than-100 percent yet feel like 100 percent create the type of muscle tension that triggers the health benefits you want from a workout.

Now estimate how many reps you could do if you hold the rubber ball as gently as possible as you do the biceps curl motion. Hundreds? Thousands?

But what if you squeeze the ball a bit after 25 easy reps, and then as hard as possible at 50, and do a total of 100? You’ll feel just as fatigued as the first set, have the benefit of the first 25 reps as a warmup, and create more total TUT.

Now the idea behind this article is to eliminate information overload, not create it, so let me be clear. If you use TUT to guide your weightlifting workouts, and all other information really becomes superfluous.

Tensing the targeted muscles while you lift makes it impossible to handle as much weight as conventional lifting; therefore, the incidence of injury lessens. More importantly, tensing the muscles makes you more conscious of them, and that mind-to-muscle link is what’s needed to make even hardcore weightlifting with heavy weight successful.

Think of it this way: If you make TUT your goal and reach the point where you can feel the targeted muscles working, what else is there? No longer do you wonder if you’re performing a certain exercise with the proper form. You know so because it either feels right or wrong.

Moreover, you can use these feelings to create exercises to better suit your body’s current condition.

For instance, the wire and screws used to fix a broken elbow 18 years ago make bench pressing with a barbell uncomfortable and ineffective for me. But if I reduce the weight, grip the barbell so that my the tips of my fingers face each, and take the barbell to my neck rather than my chest, I really stimulate the upper and outer areas of the chest.

With the right amount of TUT.

— to

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