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Freaky Friday #12- Ho, Ho, Hold

Freaky Friday #12-  Ho, Ho, Hold

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Presents, family, little eggnog, and having a cheat day or 4 over the next week as we inhale cheeseballs, beef tenderloin, and enough Sister Schubert rolls to carb-load a football team. Life is all about balance, and we will be indulging as well, but will do so after a hard gym session and earn those loose gray sweat pants and gravy....lots of gravy. As for the Christmas workout, lately, we have been including some Time Under Tension workouts as we are always trying to switch up our cadence, weight, and exercises in order to keep our muscles on their toes and not allow them to get too comfortable in a specific movement.

Time Under Tension has made a nice little resurgence lately as it seems to be the exercise de jour touted by a lot of weight lifting gurus. So what is it? The thought and science behind Time Under Tension (TUT) workouts is to slow down, be intentional with your movements, and keep your muscles under as much tension as you can for a longer duration. TUT, if done correctly, will increase muscle hypertrophy, or more simply put, it will make your muscles grow larger in response to exercise.

How is it done? Pretty simple really. Put the pride aside, drop the weight, increase the reps and go slow…I mean really slow, like put on some Usher and dim the lights slow, especially the negative movements. The beginning of the lift should be at least 2 seconds, a nice squeeze (or hold) at the top or bottom of lift (depending on exercise), then a nice 2+ second negative. The trick is to not allow your muscles to fully extend or rest to lessen the tension. This usually happens between reps, say if you are doing curls, you rest between reps if only for a split second when you are about to lift the weight again. See if you can get to a spot that is almost fully extended, but still have tension in the muscle. For reference (rough numbers), strength is gained in 5-25 seconds of tension, growth 30-60 seconds, and above that is endurance.

TUT workouts will help you grow stronger, grow bigger muscles (watch out beach season), and increase the fat burn. Combine this with a nice 10-20 minute HIIT cardio workout at the end. You can incorporate this style of workout to your normal routine to shake it up a bit, and below is an example of some splits you can try for a week. Remember, drop the weight and get the form perfect, then build from there. I promise, you do it right, you are going to be covered in sweat at the end.

We try to make all of our workouts doable from the gym or at home. For this one, I am going to approach it from a gym setting. If you have a nice home setup, you are probably savvy enough to mix and match some movements to accommodate what you have. This workout will incorporate dumbbells, cable pulls, barbells, Assault Runner, Assault Bike, etc.

Before we get started, prime your muscles with a few sets of light stretching and lifting to get the blood pumping. Again, drop the weight on this and get the form perfect where you can control the weight slowly through the positive and negative of the lift. We are going to be super-setting two different movements, and there will be little time in between lifts, so finish, get to the next station, and save your rest for in between sets. For instance, below you will do 15 reps DB Bench Press then go do 15 reps Barbell Back Squats. We are going to start with 4 sets of each movement, and will go 15, 12, 8, and 6 on the reps with the weight moving up as the reps go down (around 65% to 85% of 1 Rep Max). After the last rep of the 4th set (the one where you are doing 6), we will do a “drop set” where the weight will go down to 50-75% of that sets weight and you will go until muscle exhaustion. Ready? Let’s get it.

Dumbbell Bench Press with Barbell Back Squats
Reps 15/12/8/6/Drop Set

Dumbbell Incline Press with Barbell Front Squats
Reps 15/12/8/6/Drop Set

Dumbbell Incline Fly with Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Reps 15/12/8/6/Drop Set

Dumbbell Pullover with Leg Extensions
Reps 15/12/8/6/Drop Set

HIIT Cardio
3 exercises, 15 calories running, 12 calories biking/rowing, and 9 burpees (everyone's favorite). All out on each exercise, then take a 30-45 second rest. 5 rounds total.

15 calories Assault Runner/Treadmill
12 calories Assault Bike/Rower
9 burpees (chest to the floor)
30-45 second break

5 rounds total

More Super Set Splits (Just to round out the week)

Shoulders/Arm Farm
Barbell Overhead Press with Tricep Extensions with Rope
Dumbbell Lateral Raise with Tricep Kick-backs
Dumbbell Raises with EZ Bar Curls
Rear Delt Cable Flys with Standing Dumbbell Hammer Curls

Bent Over Rows with Barbell Deadlift
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows with Hamstring Curls
Straight Arm Pulldowns with Dumbbell Sumo Squats
Pull Ups with Box Jumps