360° muscle key: 90° Eccentric isometrics. It may seem like we’re throwing a lot of engineering at you, but the concept behind time under tension (TUT) is simple, says Joel Seidman, Ph. advanced human performance: “Perform the lowering phase of the movement in a slow, controlled manner, usually 3 to 5 seconds; pause in the stretching position, usually about 90 degrees; then perform the lifting phase in a vigorous, controlled manner.” Believe us, a time workout under tension can satisfy seasoned lifters…eccentric isometrics are like a pressure cooker for training.
“Instead of mindlessly performing slow-paced reps, you use increased time under tension as a way to fine-tune your body mechanics and alignment, which requires more mental engagement and focus,” Seidman adds.
If you want to build functional muscle mass and strength while simultaneously giving resistance to joints and connective tissue, give this 10-movement eccentric isometric workout a full-body workout.
Perform the following moves as eccentric 90° isometrics following the protocol above. Use heavy weight, but not at the expense of proper form. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets and two minutes between sessions. Perform once every 2 to 4 days for best results.
The best full-body strength workout for time under tension
a. barbell back squat
Place a squat rack with a heavy weight, then grab the bar and step under it. Press your shoulder blades together, then stand at the crossbar and step back, feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale, stop at the hips and slowly bend the knees to 90 degrees. Pause, maintaining a natural arch in the lower back, then extend it through the hips to stand up firmly. 3 x 4-6 reps
Begin in the top position of the pushup, hands shoulder width apart, on medium to heavy dumbbells (as shown). Explosively lead the right elbow back into the dumbbell row toward the ribs while balancing on the opposite hand and foot. Pause, then slowly lower the weight, stopping a few inches off the floor. Switch sides after you’ve done all the reps. 3 x 5 reps per side
a. Dumbbell Bentoover Row
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding two medium to heavy dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing you. Push your hips back and your torso forward so it’s roughly parallel to the floor, gently bending your knees. The dumbbells should be near the shins. Push the elbows into the row of weights toward the ribs. Pause, then slowly lower for 3 to 5 seconds. 3 x 4-5 reps
B. Chest press with dumbbells with legs raised
Set an adjustable bench at a 30 to 45 degree angle and lie down with a dumbbell in either hand. Turn on the core and lift the legs off the floor, feet bent. Press the weights over the head, palms inward. Slowly descend to 90 degrees, keeping tight and compressed. Pause, then lift the weights directly above the chest. 3 x 4-5 reps
a. Bulgarian dumbbell squat
Stand in a lunge in front of a flat bench, holding heavy weights in each hand by your sides, palms facing inward. Place the ball on the top (shoelaces) of your right foot behind you on the bench. Slowly lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Pause, then pass through your heels to stand. Switch sides after all reps are complete. 2 x 3-4 reps per side
B. Single leg roman deadlift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells or coffee bells. Lead the right leg up, with the foot flexed, aligning the knee with the hip, making a 90-degree angle. Hinge at the hips as you slowly raise your torso toward the floor, lowering the weights and leading your right leg back for balance. Hold up, then press the glutes to reverse. 2 x 3-4 reps per side
Hang from the pull-up bar using a fist with legs extended and feet flexed. Fasten the patches and pull your shoulders down your back, then pull yourself up until the chin is higher than the hands. Pause at the top, then slowly descend. Pause at the bottom, then reset before the next rep. 2-3 x 4-5 reps
B – kneeling above the head by pressing the barbell
Hold a moderate-to-heavy bar at shoulder level with forearms perpendicular to the floor. Kneel at the end of the bench with feet flexed to grip the edge for support. Inhale, engage your core and muscles, then tap the bar over your head, pushing your head forward until it passes your face, and exhale from the top.
Slowly lower until elbows are at 90 degrees, then hold to maintain tension. Start your next rep from here. 2-3 x 4-5 reps
a. Dumbbell push-up
Place your hands on a dumbbell (this provides a greater range of motion) about shoulder width apart and feet wider than shoulder width with toes touching the floor. Keep your head neutral and hips elevated to increase tension on the core, chest, and triceps and reduce pressure on the spine. Slowly I fall to the ground. Stop
Once your elbows reach 90 degrees, pause, then push up to start. 1-2 x 6-8 reps
B. Biceps curl
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with medium to heavy dumbbells in each hand hanging from either side. Use the biceps to lift weights while keeping the arms steady. Pause at the top, then slowly lower. Don’t let the arms fall all the way down to keep more time under pressure on the biceps. 1-2 x 6-8 reps
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