Time Under Tension

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It has been an incredible week for me filled with so many awesome new developments. The highlight of this week was a call with the editor of my first book marking the official beginning to the writing process. Say wha?? Yes! I have the massive honor and gift of writing a book! I am bursting with excitement and personally promise you that this book will change your life in regards to your fitness efforts.

As you may know I am particularly passionate about strength development. My life’s path changed dramatically after I developed personal strength as a result of exploring my physical strength in the gym.

So today’s blog identifies the seed that is essential to the development of your physical strength.

No longer is strength training for women simply a means to get buff. Nor is it simply a tool to prevent osteoporosis. Finally women like you are embracing the value in feeling strong physically, emotionally and spiritually. Mark my words, there will come a day when all experts agree that strength training is as essential to a woman’s overall health as pap smears, mammograms and annual visits. Strength training has the power to optimize your hormones, obliterate fatigue, super charge your self esteem and empower you like nuthin else.

One concept that is particularly important to effective strength development – both physical and personal strength – is “time under tension.” You know I love me a good metaphor! This basic principle in physical conditioning influences how well your body will respond to your strength training efforts.

In order for a muscle to adapt and become stronger, it must spend some time under tension. The more time a muscle spends exerting itself, ie under tension, the stronger it will become. Therefore, my #1 rule in the gym is this:

Execute your movements with precision by choosing a weight that allows you to have Holly approved technique. I know- we need to talk more about what good technique looks like. Stay tuned for future posts on this. I watch many people at the gym using weight loads that are too heavy. When the weight load is too heavy, your body will compensate in a way that takes the “load” off the intended muscle group. For example, if you are doing a Lat Pulldown (and you better be cuz it’s a goodie!) and the weight is even a little bit too heavy, you’ll end up using your Trapezius (aka “Trap”) muscles instead of your back muscles. And lemme tell ya, big traps aren’t exactly the most feminine look. Therefore, assume you are weaker than you think you are and begin with low weight loads to be certain that your technique is pure awesomeness. Then, perform your repetitions deliberately with precision and control. This will increase your muscle’s time under tension. Bam.

That being said, effective strength training also requires that you use weights that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles. It’s important to find just the right weight to ensure Holly approved technique, but a weight that is also heavy enough to stimulate strength.

This, my friend, is “Time Under Tension.” And just like in life, the more you are exposed to a challenge, the stronger you will become.


I’d love to hear from you. Do your strength training workouts reflect what I’ve said above? Do you feel like you are seeing progress as a result of your strength workouts? Share your thoughts with me below in the Comments!

I like to share secret tips with my closest friends. If you want to get on my list and receive my once weekly emails, click HERE

I’ve updated my website and you can now read all of the articles where my workouts and advice have been mentioned in magazines like Women’s Health, Fitness, SELF, Redbook and Oxygen. Check it HERE


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