You may be a gym creature of habit. You use the same locker, never stray from that one squat rack, and you continue to use traditional lifting and dieting plans as a way to build muscle and shred down. And yet there’s a good chance your conventional sets and reps are not doing you justice.
Former D1 athlete and National Arena League star wide receiver, Matt Tralli, has some advice, and it begins and ends with one thing: time under tension. Tralli shared his arms ladder workout, a series of eight weighted and unweighted exercises designed to increase time under tension and improve muscle growth. And while you may think those bulging bis and titanic tris are a given, there’s a good chance what you’re doing just won’t cut it.
What is Time Under Tension?
Time under tension (TUT) is the duration of time your muscle is being worked throughout the movement. The more time your muscle is under strain, the harder it works for benefits like strength, endurance, and overall growth.
It isn’t about the literal amount of time as it is the range of motion. A greater range of motion yields more muscle growth when compared to partial range of motion while also improving functional performance (1). In other words, greater range of motion means more time under tension and leads to increased growth.
The Ladder Workout
This biceps and triceps destroyer is essentially 10 working sets with reps in descending order: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2. A mix of weighted and non-weighted bodyweight exercises, this variety challenges you while keeping things fresh. Plus, you maximize range of motion so growth is inevitable.
1. Seated Dumbbell Curls
2. Bench Dips
3. Barbell Curls
4. Dumbbell Skull Crushers
5. Lying Cable Curls
6. Rope Triceps Extension
7. Behind the Head Curls
If you’re tired of flexing those tiny twigs in the mirror, hop on the ladder and climb aboard the Tralli gains train.