By Garrett Sylvester
Most of us could probably live life with a little less tension and be more carefree. However, the tension I am talking is the kind we create with our muscles when we’re training. Specifically, in relation to strength training. You see, most of us go through a strength training session just trying to complete the repetitions by any means necessary. There is a time and a place for that. Most of the time though, we would greatly improve our efficiency in the gym by focusing on creating as much tension as possible for longer. Too often I see people trying to use momentum to get through the movements as quickly as possible. We are leaving so much on the table by rushing through the repetitions. Not only does slowing down and creating tension make us stronger and perform better, it protects us from injuries as well.
Maximizing tension mindfully and doing it for longer has three main benefits:
When we are creating maximum tension, what we are really doing is contracting our muscles as much as we can. This allows us to be able to produce more force with our bodies than we other wise would be able to. This means we can lift more weight with better movement and technique. We get stronger and move better in the process. It’s a win-win situation.
Increased Muscle Hypertrophy and Density (AKA looking better naked)
There are several ways this happens. The first is mindfully creating that mind-muscle connection. This not only allows for proper mechanics, it also allows the muscles to work harder due to increased activation of the motor neurons (the cells in our muscles that tells it when it contract). Paired with more time under tension, the muscles work harder for longer which creates muscle growth. The growth happens in two ways. The muscles will physically get bigger as well more dense. This will improve your performance as well as giving you that strong, sexy look when paired with a proper diet.
Safer Lifting and Movement
Your risk of injury will be much lower. Tension locks the body in place so that we are stabilized when lifting. When you are creating tension and moving at a controlled pace, your muscles do the lifting rather than your joints and/or spine. This creates a stronger lift without the negative aspect of joint and connective tissue injuries.
Since it's likely that your goal is to to be stronger, lift better, and get the most out of our strength training, I am going to show you how to execute and create tension properly.
There are many ways to create tension depending on what the movement is and where you need to create it. However, I am going to show a common exercise you can do anywhere that will help teach you how to create tension in the body.
High Tension Plank
Practice this exercise and you will be well on your way to creating maximal tension. Apply these principles to your lifts and you will see improvements in strength, performance, and overall look-good-nakedness.
Our coaches research and report on all things regarding fitness, adventure and the community within.