Eccentric training is one of the absolute best ways to increase muscle size and strength, as well as help prevent injuries and can even help increase flexibility. However if you don’t know how to do it correctly then you wont’t be able to achieve the full results. Today’s blog is going to explain exactly what, how and why we eccentrically train to give you the edge over every other guy and girl in the gym!
The eccentric phase of a exercise is also know as the “easy” part as it is when the muscle is relaxing in, lengthening and stretching. Now placing your muscles under increased load and time during the eccentric phase forces the muscle to stay contracted whilst lengthening at the same time. The concentric “hard” part of the exercise is when you lift the weight and the muscles contract. e.g. the top phase of the bench press, pull ups, squat etc. Then theres the isometric which is where the muscle contracts but there is no movement like at the top and the bottom of the rep.
Here are 10 facts you should know about eccentric training.
1 You are stronger eccentrically. As I said earlier the eccentric phase of the exercise is when you are at your strongest sometimes almost double (1.75) times as strong as what you are during the concentric phase. This is why letting the weight down is so much easier than lifting it. To overload the muscles eccentrically you need to increase the amount of time they’re under tension for during the eccentric phase. this is where tempo lifting becomes a thing.
2 The eccentric phase no matter what exercise should always be controlled. If you goals are strength and or size orientated then you should never neglect the eccentric phase of a exercise and just let gravity do all the work.Lower the weight with control and always lift to a tempo (a specific amount of seconds to lower and raise the weight)
3 Eccentric overload training maximises hypertrophy compared to standard training. By focussing on eccentric loading in your program you can ensure you’re going to achieve maximum muscle growth. As long as you make sure that you lift at the right intensity of load and for the ideal time under tension to create the greatest muscle fibre damage. Studies have shown that protein synthesis is at its highest after eccentrically loaded training. An example tempo for eccentric lifting is lowering for 4 seconds and then exploding and lifting for 1 second.
4 Eccentric contractions use less energy than concentric contractions. An eccentric contraction requires less energy than the concentric. This means that you’re able to work for longer periods which improves body composition as well as strength.
5 Heavy negatives and forced reps increase intensity. Making your muscle fibres lock up and tear isn’t the only reason why eccentric training is better for hypotrophy. By being able to perform heavy negatives and forced reps you can train at a higher intensity which produces higher stress and forces a greater adaptation in the body. Training like this also triggers an anabolic response in the body.
6 An enhanced eccentric phase makes for greater concentric power. If your eccentric is fast your concentric will be more powerful. There’s a study that found eccentric enhanced training helps you to produce more concentric power in sports like football, rugby and boxing.
7 Fast eccentrics produce the greatest hypertrophy. Fast eccentric phases cause greater muscle protein synthesis and muscle fibre damage as oppose to slow eccentrics.
8 Apply fast eccentrics with complex training to get bigger and stronger. One of the most beneficial ways to perform fast eccentric training is to couple it with complex training. This is where you superset a heavy strength training exercise with a fast power exercise. e.g. 85% 1RM back squats straight into squat jumps.
9 Eccentric enhanced training strengthens tendons. The same way eccentric enhanced training is one of the best stimuluses for muscle growth and development, it also rebuilds tendon tissue. Eccentric enhanced training is used quite a lot to help rehabilitate ruptured tendons, but if you’re already enhancing your eccentric phases then this will help to never have such injury!!
10 Eccentric training increases flexibility. Eccentrically enhanced training has been known as one of the best ways to help increase flexibility. It is incredibly better than static stretching, and a recent analysis slow eccentric phases can improve the range of motion ion the hips by an amazing 22% that’s huge! Infant when measured the ROM in every joint was improved by no less than 13 degrees. it does this by stimulating not only muscle growth but muscle lengthening as well. We all want to be more flexible, the more technical the lift the greater flexibility is required to perform with correct technique and form. Deep back squats, front squats, deadlifts and power cleans techniques aren’t up to scratch then you hip, ankle, wrist and shoulder flexibility will 9 times out of 10 be to blame. unless you address this you will never be able to get the full benefits nor reach your full potential in the gym. Eccentric training is the answer.
Eccentric training is one of if not the biggest secrets to achieve your goals Learn how to utilise not correctly and go and crush it!