Trainer Tip of the Week – Eccentric Training
There are two motions of the lift when resistance training, which is the eccentric contraction, and the concentric contraction. Working a muscle eccentrically (otherwise known as the negative motion of a lift), is the lengthening of the muscle, whereas the concentric motion (or positive motion) is the shortening of the muscle. On a bicep curl for example, the concentric motion is when you bring the weight up, and the eccentric motion is bringing the weight down. Most people’s main focus when resistance training is the concentric phase. However, there are many benefits in putting more focus on the eccentric phase such as strength gain, increased hypertrophy (increased size of the muscle fibers), and joint relief. Studies have shown that people with tendonitis, when training eccentrically, felt less pain in the problem area. Training this way can be mentally challenging though, because your body will be under constant tension much longer than normal. My favorite way to train eccentrically is to give 3-4 seconds in the eccentric phase of the lift. On a bicep curl, it would take me 1-2 seconds to bring the weight up (concentric phase). On the way down however, I mentally count to 3 or 4. Putting more focus on the negative aspect will give you a tremendous burn, and will cause you to have to lessen the resistance, because your muscles are under tension a lot longer.
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