Going through the motions is never a great idea when it comes to fitness and exercise. Ask any personal trainer, and they’ll tell you it’s about quality, not quantity. Take a push-up, for instance. You know dropping your body down then pushing it back up is considered to be one rep, however both of those steps — which are known as eccentric and concentric movements — are equally important. And when you understand and concentrate on those specific movements during exercise, it can assist you vary your routine and up your gains.
Why Are Eccentric Exercises Crucial?
Facilitates Muscle Change
Eccentric loading has been associated with greater muscle strength gain and hypertrophy. This is particularly true with type-2 fibres. This is a result of more muscle tendon unit load in addition to load intensity. Your muscles are able to withstand more force doing an eccentric exercise as opposed to other forms of exercise.
Improves Tendon Health And Stiffness
Eccentric exercises play a huge role when it comes to tendon health by boosting stiffness. It may sound counterintuitive however stiffness is not a bad thing. We actually want stiffness in our tendons however not in our joints. Reduced stiffness in tendons is one of the reasons why athletes get tendinopathies, like jumper’s knee and Achilles’ tendinopathy.
Owing to improved tendon stiffness, this will basically help to bulletproof your tendons from injuries. Studies have demonstrated that eccentric exercises improve the capacity of the tendon unit load. This leads to an improved ability to adapt to load. Improving the capacity of the tendon will assist with decreasing tendinopathy injuries.
The reason why we want stiffness is that it gives your tendon the opportunity to withstand high loads. This stiffness allows for proper energy storage and the contract-relax portion of jump to take place. For instance, think of the act of jumping as a spring. If the spring is far too loose, it won’t store energy well and the rebound effect will be negligible. However, if the spring is tightly wound when it is loaded, it will store far more energy, create more force and result in a greater vertical jump.
Better Range of Motion
Eccentric training could improve your range of motion. Studies have demonstrated that an increase in ankle range of motion following six weeks of eccentric loading. This boost in range of motion is due to lowered resistance to passive stretching from improved muscle tendon unit compliance. Therefore, eccentric contractions are improving your tissue’s capacity to tolerate deeper ranges of motion. In other words, if you are keen to improve your mobility, do not solely stretch but add in eccentric training.
How Can You Add More Eccentric Training To Your Routine Safely?
Almost any exercise can be performed with an eccentric focus, so you are able to begin incorporating this kind of training into any strength workout. Start with the basics: squats, deadlifts, push ups, and rows.
Eccentric exercises are done slowly, with control, to add to the muscle’s time under tension. Attempt doing a three-second count on the lengthening phase of the exercise as well as a one-second count on the shortening phase.
Do eight to 10 reps per exercise as well as two to three sets. (FYI: It’s not necessary for you to use weights. Eccentric exercises are an amazing way to increase the challenge of any exercise — just imagine a gradual push-up from the floor.)
As you may have more muscle soreness than you’re used to (if you are new to eccentric training), give yourself around 48 to 72 hours before doing an eccentric workout again. You want to ensure that your muscles are recovered fully and repaired before you tax them again.
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