What Is Eccentric Exercise?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Just going through the motions is never quite a good 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 that lowering your body down and 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 with varying your routine and up your gains.

Lifting heavy weights is a phenomenal way to efficiently and effectively strengthen your muscles. However, it’s not the only method that you can use. Enter eccentric training.

Changing up the weight you lift by adding more of it is a straightforward way to continually challenge your muscles, however the tempo of your lifting matters as well. You are able to get a stellar strength workout by just tinkering with the speed at which you do the exercises.

By slowing down specific portions of your exercises, you are able to challenge your muscles to the maximum and get the most bang-for-your-workout buck. It’s an exercise concept that is known as eccentric training.

What Are The Benefits Of Eccentric Exercise?

Eccentric exercise focuses on the lengthening phase of any specific exercise, which makes it killer for building strength. By lowering the weight using control, you can create a phenomenal stimulus for growth even though the gravitational force of the weight is more than the force that the muscle is producing.

In fact, research which was published in 2014 found eccentric training to be better at building both muscle size as well as strength than concentric training. You are able to lengthen muscles under loads much greater than possible to contract with. It’s a phenomenal tool for ‘overloading’ the body” which is the key to making adaptations.

During an eccentric contraction, your muscle fibres are lengthened to a point that causes microscopic tears (think about the image of pulling Velcro apart), which encourages your muscle’s inflammatory response. With proper recovery time, they’ll repair as well as rebuild themselves stronger than they were before.

Overall Force Increases During These Exercises

Eccentric contractions cause more muscle damage (in a good way) than concentric contractions as you’re moving more slowly through the motion, overall force improves. Over time, your muscle will naturally build increased strength in order to accommodate that increased force.

Eccentric training also needs less oxygen, a reduced cardiac output, and produces less lactate build-up within the muscle as opposed to concentric training when making use of similar loads. All of this is easier on your body.

It’s not only about making gains. That lengthening of the muscle fibres can also improve flexibility as well as range of motion. Eccentric training was found to be an efficient way in order to improve lower limb flexibility.

The cherry on top: Strength training and improved flexibility both lessen your risk of injury. And eccentric training also strengthens your body’s connective tissue (think of it like a web throughout your body which supports and protects your muscles and organs).

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