Time Under Tension (5 reps is too low)

Like I’ve said… I like 5 x 5 training.

I’ve used it as a new trainee 20 + years ago…

…and I still use it with my athletes at times.

But the fact is that it is NOT the best parameter
to follow for building muscle.

And the volume is way too high to let you train
for maximal strength.

It is a good “hybrid” system…. but there are better
ways to build muscle mass.

Now before I tell you the BEST way to build mass
I should warn you that The Grow Stronger Method
is the complete opposite of a mass building program.

In fact, with GSM you might even find that your
muscles get a bit smaller… but harder and more dense.

This is due to “myofibrillar hypertrophy”… I’ll tell
you more about that later.

Now, as far as building muscle mass is concerned,
your most important variable is TIME UNDER

TUT is measured by how many seconds you are
placing your muscle under tension.

So things like slow tempos, short rest intervals and
reps in the 8-12 range are best for this.

When you lift explosively for 5 reps… you might only
have a TUT of say 15 seconds per set.

This is too little for serious muscle building.

When you lift sloooowly for 12 reps… you might get
72 seconds of TUT per set.

Now you’re on the right track!

Why the heck am I telling you about how to build
muscle when I’m getting ready to release a strength
building book? –– you ask.

Because I want to remind you that I know a lot
about strength, muscle, sports performance and fitness.

If there is a guy that you can trust to feed you honest,
unbiased information about muscle and strength…

…I want you to know that I’M YOUR GUY!

I’ll be answering more questions of the sort for a few
more hours, then I’m closing the comments section for

Go here, ask question and be sure to sign up for the
“early notification” of the GSM release.


Grow Stronger,
Elliott “The Incredible” Hulse

Comments 7

  1. Elliot,
    By muscle mass, you mean sarcoplasmic growth? From what I can see, you built your incredible “Hulse” physique through strength programs, correct? So we would be looking at myofibrillar hypertrophy vs. sarcoplasmic hypertrophy? The reason I ask, is that you have made me fall in love with getting stronger. It’s a heck more challenging because of recovery when one gets older. Also, as one gets older, dense muscle is appreciated way more than any puffed up muscle. Would you say dense muscle could be considered functional, whilst puffed up muscle is more for aesthetics? It’s always a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

  2. Post

    I couldnt have said it better!

    That is exactly what we are talking about.

    Dense muscle is far more functional and strong in my experience.

  3. Elliot, you’re right about the tempo in the 5×5 method can seem to fly by while never really delivering on the goods. I do use it in my own programs to grow both mass and density. Yet, when I’m strictly focused on making my muscles stronger, I like to lift with heavier loads using the 5-set approach, but the difference is I stick with lower reps and much slower rep tempos.


  4. long time reader, first time comment.

    first off, I really enjoy reading your blog and watching your vids, mr Hulse.
    about a year ago me and the wife decided to change lifestyles and started eating a very low carb diet. the kilos have melted off, and I got back to lifting again. did about six months of 5×5 which worked wonders, then I got to the dreaded plateau. switched my program about a month ago to a Gironda inspired 8×8 set up, with sloooow reps. which gets me to my point. I could be wrong, but this post reminds me a lot of Gironda’s philosophy, with much time spent on using your muscles to develop them, rather than the wham bam thank you maam approach I see many lifters do.

    cheers from norway

  5. When’s a good time to start this program?
    Is it for beginners, intermediates or heavy lifters?

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