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Something New to Try, Eccentric Exercise!


You might be used to the term Concentric Exercise but now there is something new - Eccentric Exercise.

Traditional strength training exercises include both concentric and eccentric muscular contractions, but often focus is given to the shortening, or concentric, phase of movement.  Eccentric training specifically focuses on the portion of the exercise in which the muscle is lengthened under a load.

Performing eccentric training comes with several potential benefits which include allowing for supramaximal training, providing greater movement efficiency and promoting greater muscle hypertrophy.

What is eccentric exercise?

Eccentric exercise is often used for physical therapy and rehabilitation.  Because eccentric contractions create more force with less energy, it is less likely to overtax injured joints and muscles.  As well as being helpful for those in recovery and rehabilitation, this type of exercise can also be valuable for older people who haven't the physical capacity for traditional eccentric-concentric exercises.

How eccentric training is used in rehabilitation

  • A common area in which physical therapists often utilize eccentric training is in the rehabilitation of knee injuries or following surgery, helping muscle and connective tissue strengthening as well as improve knee stability following knee surgery.
  • It can also help improve neuromuscular control following injury, meaning a better connection between your brain and the injured muscle.
  • The training can help to preserve and even enhance muscle mass especially in older people who might be more likely to suffer from inflammation caused by muscle damage during exercise.

Here are some examples of eccentric exercise

  • If you are doing a bench press, focus on the lowering of the bar to your chest.
  • If you're doing pull-ups, focus on lowering yourself very, very slowly.
  • If you are doing squats, focus on the part where you move your body into the starting position.
  • If you are doing bicep curls, focus on the lowering of the weight away from your body.