I love to use slow eccentrics when designing training programs. Eccentric training focuses on the active contraction of a muscle occurring simultaneously with the lengthening of the muscle.
For example, during a biceps curl the action of lowering the dumbbell back down from the lift is the eccentric phase of that exercise. There is a vast amount of research pinpointing that eccentric training can be an important weapon of choice when striving to reach your fitness goals.
The benefits of eccentric weight training include:
- Increased muscle growth triggered by the muscle-lengthening portion of the exercise
- Reduced muscle loss (sarcopenia) in individuals over age 40
- Increased flexibility by increasing the number of sarcomeres
- Increased IGF1, as you remodulate muscle by lowering the weight
- Increased muscle gains, since eccentric muscle damage is harder to recover from
If you are not calculating the time the muscle is under tension, you are guessing what the training response will be. Are you improving your strength, functional hypertrophy, hypertrophy or your strength endurance? Exercise selection and order, rest time, sets and repetitions are also very important principles to consider during program design.
Train smart — and get results.
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