What is Eccentric Contractions?
An eccentric contraction is the lengthening portion of an exercise, so if it were a bicep curl, the way back down from curling would be considered the eccentric portion. Now the question is, why does it matter? Well, significant studies have shown that eccentric contractions promote greater gains in strength, muscle mass, and neural adaptations. So simply focusing on this negative portion of the left, also known as the lengthening of the muscle, comes with a plethora of benefits.
Please read on for some tips on how to go about getting the most benefits out of eccentric contractions and laying them out as a method of training.
- Focus on going slow on the eccentric, meaning a slowed-down pace on the negative. Give it a three-second negative portion for every second of your concentric contraction. However, don’t do this every set of every exercise as you may overtax the muscles and not be able to get through your whole workout, depending on your programming.
- Add an isometric contraction midway, meaning to pause. This will fire more muscle fibres to work harder, and with adequate recovery, it will yield more results. That being said, if you were doing a heavy set with a lot of weight or a lot of volume, it is best to weigh out if you may still perform this with good form.
- Finally, if you are utilizing eccentric contractions properly, make sure you utilize them for all training days and muscles trained to have symmetry and equal strength gains!
Hope you all enjoyed and happy lifting!
The following is a conclusion from frontal physio, which we would like to include for our avid readers about the benefits of eccentric contractions:
“The study of eccentric contraction is no longer confined to muscle physiology and sport sciences but is becoming central in clinical medicine and is likely to expand in the near future. Indeed, due to its unique neural, mechanical and metabolic properties, the eccentric mode has gained a growing interest in several fields.
In addition to its efficiency in sports performance and rehabilitation, the eccentric training interventions constitute an attractive strategy to prevent muscle wasting in sarcopenia or in many chronic diseases. Increasing evidence also supports the beneficial effects of eccentric exercises on body composition and other health-related parameters, making this contraction mode a promising tool for various patient populations.”