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           Truly Huge Fitness Tips
         Presented by TrulyHuge.com                  
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     Fitness Tips For 7/12/2006 
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Time Under Load Theory

by Lester Maurice of Bodybuilding Guide

Many high intensity theorists toss around an intriguing idea they
call Time Under Load (TUL). But before addressing the merits of 
TUL, lets cover the basic premise most people use while working 
out. Many assume that the goal of performing an exercise is to 
simply make the weights go up and down. They think they're suppose
to lift and lower the weights as many times as they can within a 
certain range of repetitions. It makes sense; every program, is 
based upon completing a certain number of reps. Then as we start 
to reach muscular failure, we attempt to move faster while losing
 our form for the sake of completing our target number of 
repetitions. Viewing the completion of those reps as the "end all"
 of your set can create a problem with your training technique and
 focus. In an attempt to complete the set, all form goes out the 
door and our motion can become sloppy, careless and reckless and 
you're less likely to be thinking about how the muscle is working.

People who view exercise this way often perform it as if they're 
trying to "beat the weights". However, simply making the weights 
go up and down is not the goal of performing an exercise. Each 
repetition is simply a means to accomplishing the real end: 
stimulating the muscle. In other words, the real objective is 
not to "lift the weights" as much as it is to "work the muscle".

Another focus problem is using the repetition count as a means of 
measuring your training progress. Its easy to assume that if you 
can lift the same weights more times using the same exercise, 
that you have gotten stronger. Some people assume the more 
repetitions they perform, no matter how they're done, the better 
they have performed. Exercising under this assumption again leads
 one to sacrifice proper form for the sake of a few extra fast, 
sloppy, relatively unproductive reps.

Getting back to Time Under Load (TUL). The theory states that 
it's not the number of reps that is important but it's the time 
the muscle is actually contracting. All the repetition range 
does is target a specified amount of time, which the muscle is 
under stress. For example a rep range of 5-8 would be 20 seconds
 of contraction or a rep range of 8-12 would be 30 seconds of 
stimulation. Still more research needs to be done to see if a 
productive program can be formulated using only TUL for each 
bodypart as the benchmark for training. Just as a practical
observation, counting reps is easy and can be accomplished 
anywhere while using TUL will require watching a clock or 
stop-watch. Not very convenient in a busy gym.

The main point to be made is that the focus while working out 
should be on a quality muscular contraction each time the 
weights are lifted. To rush a set just because you're almost 
at the end in an effort to complete some magical number of 
repetitions can be self-defeating. Stimulating the muscle 
thoroughly should be the first priority whether counting reps
or watching the clock. If you figure out you would rather 
do curls for 20 seconds rather than 8 repetitions, that's up
to you. But your technique should be under control and focused
throughout the set. Get as much muscular stimulation as 
possible out of every second of the exercise, rather than 
simply trying to complete each rep for the sake of completing 
it. 

About the Author

Lester Maurice is the head of Matrix Systems a consulting group
of personal trainers specializing in bodybuilding and fitness 
development located throughout Southern California. For more 
great muscle building and fat burning tips visit his website 
at Bodybuilding Guide.

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