Now this is probably the only time we can think of that negativity will help you in achieving your muscle/strength building goals. Most people who start lifting weights don’t think too much into the little details of resistance training such as contractions, and without realizing can be missing a key ingredient to success.
So, to gain some new knowledge that will help improve your results, consider this the next time you train. When performing chest press, the pushing movement you would consider a contraction, but this is only half of so called “complete” contraction. That movement when you’re pushing away from your body (or towards it if you were performing a pull down for example) is called a concentric contraction, and the other half of the movement (eccentric) is the lowering of the bar back down towards your chest. In short, concentric is when the muscle fibers shorten and when performing the eccentric part they muscle fibers (yes, you guessed it) lengthen.
If you don’t use eccentric training you probably think that the lowering phase is easy, effortless almost. However, in this part of the movement your muscles are still working and contracting. This is so your muscles can control the weight back to it’s natural position safely.
How Do Muscles Get Bigger & Stronger?
This is a key point to understand when trying to build solid muscle and get great results. The point of resistance training is to cause some skeletal muscle damage, which is classed as microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. Getting the correct nutrition and sufficient amounts of rest is key to allowing these fibers to repair and regenerate themselves so that they can handle future workouts that you throw at them better.
So, what does this mean? When you cause this muscular tissue damage and allow them to repair, they adapt and can handle more that you throw at them or in other words, you become bigger and stronger. By adding this to your workout routines and progressing it over time, it allows your muscles to continue to grow and build more strength.
What Does Eccentric Training Do/How Should I Use It?
Eccentric contractions cause greater muscle tissue damage which allows your muscles to grow and get stronger, this is because it slows down the elongation of the muscle process in order to challenge the muscles. This damage can be described as the soreness you feel a day or two after you’ve trained, and I’m sure you’ll all know what I mean!
To implement this kind of training into your routines, use exercises that are performed one arm at a time e.g. single arm preacher curls. You would spot the concentric movement with your free hand and perform a slow eccentric movement freely.
Be mindful and don’t go overboard with this type of training, because it can cause more damage to your skeletal muscle fibers than normal it will require more recovery time. So performing eccentric training too often can cause fatigue due to overtraining, and if you’re not careful it can lead to connective tissue damage as well as your muscles by stretching them out too much.
To avoid this, you can simply not train eccentrically every session and varying the part of the body you perform eccentric training on. Whereas if you apply this correctly it will ultimately lead to greater gains, and who doesn’t want that?!