Eccentric exercise training is a type of training where you add in a negative movement to the exercise. With this in mind, let’s see the benefits eccentric exercises have for workouts.
So what is eccentric training? Let’s begin by define eccentric training:
“An eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under load. Eccentric training is repetitively doing eccentric muscle contractions.” source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccentric_training
*Many people also refer to eccentric exercise training as negative training.
So what this means is that if you have your muscles contracted when the muscles are in the longest position, then it is an eccentric exercise. For an example, if you do bicep curls and slowly lower the dumbbells rather than letting them fall with gravity, that is an eccentric motion/exercise.
The opposite of an eccentric exercise is known as a concentric exercise. This is when the muscle is contracted when the length of the muscle is the shortest.
Eccentric exercises can drastically increase your strength gains, as well as put on a lot of size to the overall muscle. I have found that the number of overall reps I can do eccentrically is far less then doing a normal rep. This is because the muscles are in a contracted state throughout the entire exercise, causing continuous “damage” to the muscle.
With the increase damage to the muscle, the body will repair the muscle at a larger size to help protect it and to make it stronger. This can benefit you as you may see both strength and size gains by doing eccentric exercises. It is all in the eccentric muscle contraction where the gains come from.
My Eccentric Exercise Training Recommendation:
My recommendation regarding eccentric training is to make the last few reps of each set eccentric. So do the exercise at a normal pace, and then make the last 3-5 an eccentric or negative exercise.
When doing a normal push-up set of 10 reps, do the first 7 as you normally would. When you begin your 8th rep, push away from the ground so you are fully extended above the ground with your arms straight. Begin to slowly lower your body to the ground in a 3-5 second count. Repeat this for the 9th & 10th rep.
Just by adding the eccentric motion at the end of a round/set, you are forcing the muscles to break down even more. This forces the body to repair the muscles bigger and stronger. However, don’t make every exercise each day an eccentric one. You will overload the muscles and break them down so that you will need a long time to recover. Either pick one day for the eccentric exercises, or add a few reps at the end of each round/set.
Please leave comments below regarding questions or concerns with eccentric exercise training.