One of the most common workout mistakes is not including eccentric exercises in your daily routine. Eccentric training, or negative contractions, challenges muscle fibers by exerting force during the lowering phase of lifting. Here’s how to build increased muscle and strength with eccentric exercise.
Get Negative with Eccentric Exercise
Eccentric training is the opposite of concentric training. Concentric training focuses on the upwards motion that shortens muscle fibers, while eccentric exercises involve lengthening the muscle fibers when lowering the weight down. Eccentric training focuses on strength building by performing exercises in a pattern holding weight a few seconds longer during the lower portion, thus negative.
The benefits of eccentric training
A mid-2000s study at the University of New Mexico found eccentric training to be more effective than concentric training, because working against gravity causes more muscular micro tears. Eccentric training leads to increased muscle mass and strength.
Another study compared the neurological effects of eccentric and concentric training. The study found eccentric exercises increase activity in areas of the brain dedicated to coordination and motor control. During the negative phase, the downward phase of lifting, as sections of the brain become more engaged they promote an improvement of overall body movement.
Advantages and disadvantages of eccentric training
The primary advantage of eccentric training gives athletes is the ability to lift more weight. Adapting to higher amounts of weight causes the body to adapt and increase in size and weight. Additional advantages of eccentric exercise include:
- Enhanced coordination
- Faster muscle production
- Improved coordination
- Improved lower limb flexibility
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased strength
The most prominent disadvantage of eccentric training is extra muscle soreness. Eccentric exercise pushes muscles to their limits and challenge muscle fibers more than concentric exercise. The soreness caused by eccentric training often lasts for days.
Another disadvantage of eccentric exercise is it burns fewer calories. Eccentric exercise is slower paced and focuses on building muscle, not burning calories.
It’s possible to overcome the disadvantages of eccentric exercise by mixing in a few eccentric exercises into your normal routine. Pro tip: one leg day do deadlifts, followed by lunges, and finish off your workout with eccentric squats.
Pure Charge Your Nutrition with PCN Plant-based Diet
Combining eccentric exercise with the right protein is the perfect recipe for greater muscle growth and strength. A protein shake after eccentric training eases the recovery from eccentric soreness. Choose plant-based protein as your post workout protein powder for faster muscle recovery!