What’s So Great about Eccentric Strengthening?

24th August 2019
What is eccentric strengthening? Eccentric strengthening is an alternative program for building muscles. Everyday actions, such as climbing up the stairs, can count as eccentric strengthening.

Negative training is a type of exercise that you do every day almost without realizing it. It’s the movements that you need to do in order to move your body. You can also use these movements to meet other workout goals. Learn more about eccentric strengthening today.

More than simply normal actions, eccentric strengthening has been gaining popularity thanks to the benefits it offers. These types of exercises mainly work to regenerate muscle fiber and tissue.

Eccentric contraction, or negative movement, is an active physiological process where muscles lengthen under external resistance. In other words, lengthening a muscle as you lower it. This kind of action allows you to slow down on a hike or move downhill.

Physically slowing yourself down can make building muscle a complicated matter, especially for beginners who are unaware of the potential risks.

The problems usually have to do with incorrectly handling explosive strength, which leads to overload injuries. In some sports, such as soccer or tennis, sudden stops and quick changes in direction are common actions, making eccentric strengthening all the more necessary.

Something to think about

If you want to step into the world of fitness, you should know the different kinds of exercises there are for strengthening muscles and gaining mass. Many people are unaware and can become frustrated because they feel as if they’ve run into a rut with their workouts.

Part of the problem has to do with the fact that most people prefer to only focus on concentric movements. And more often than not, people don’t even realize that they do.

eccentric strengthening concentric
Image: YouTube FisioOnline

But, negative movements can increase muscle mass by up to 30 percent through lengthening and muscle adaption. On top of that, eccentric strengthening can make you stronger than a regular workout can.

Benefits of eccentric strengthening for sport

If you want to enhance your athletic performance, eccentric strengthening is especially great for powering up specific areas. It offers athletes flexibility and explosive potential in addition to high-stamina for longer and longer periods of time.

In addition, it also holds benefits for joints because it makes them more stable and balanced. As a result, they help reduce the risk of these kinds of injuries.

And here’s why: eccentric exercises encourage the body to produce more collagen. The increase in collagen production translates to better muscle lengthening and stronger tendons.

Health and rehab benefits

Eccentric strengthening is a common practice in rehab and physiotherapy programs for regenerating muscle-tendon structures. These programs help reduce the risk of muscle damage.

Additionally, in chronic conditions such as patellar tendonitis, eccentric exercises offer big health benefits. Tissue performance and function improve, regenerating the degradation of the affected area.

All of this affects neuromuscular development, which in turn, improves the responses in concentric movements. Thus, these exercises offer muscles better control and execution.

To add on, they prevent them from wearing down in the short- and long-term. Not only from participating in certain sports but from everyday life actions as well such as walking downstairs.

Precautions for eccentric strengthening

Extremes are never recommendable. You shouldn’t overdo eccentric strengthening exercises. These exercises can be very aggressive on your muscles.

eccentric strengthening limits

These types of workouts are very intense, making mini-sessions favorable to full sessions. Don’t do more than three sets of any exercise and limit them to eight repetitions. You should also aim for a 48-hour minimum rest for your muscles.

These exercises increase your blood pressure level. Keeping that in mind, they can have a potentially dangerous effect on your heart rate.

If you have a heart condition, make sure you see a doctor and explain your situation to avoid any serious problems. Eccentric exercises aren’t recommendable for people who have serious heart problems or muscle hematomas.

Beginner and experienced exercisers alike should always do these exercises with a personal trainer. While they’re great for optimizing body control, the slight mistake can lead to unfortunate situations, including serious injuries.

 

  • De la Torre, G. 2016. Entrenamiento excéntrico. Extraído de: https://centropronaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TRI-44-78-81-ENTRENAMIENTO-EXCENTRICO.pdf
  • Pardo – Ibañez, A.; Koral, J. Ejercicios excéntricos. Extraído de: http://femede.es/documentos/Ejercicios_excentricos_XXJJTrauma.pdf