Eccentric exercise sounds crazy, but it works. Never heard of it? You’ve probably done some eccentric exercise and didn’t even know it. If you have ever done a bicep curl you have done some eccentric exercise. Wikipedia says eccentric training involves repetitions of eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric contractions are motions of an active muscle as it lengthens under a load. During a bicep curl the contraction occurs as you slowly lower the dumbbell. Eccentric exercise has benefits for everyone. Read on to learn how it can help you.
Benefits of eccentric exercise
Unlike concentric exercise, which causes the muscle to shorten as it contracts (such as when you lift the dumbbell), eccentric exercise allows you to work the muscle harder and avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. With a bicep curl that looks like lifting quickly through the concentric phase and releasing slowly for the eccentric phase.
Eccentric exercise is tender on your tendons – Especially if you are an older or managing tendonitis, eccentric exercise can help you treat your tendons tenderly. Down with tennis elbow!
Eccentric exercise helps you avoid injury by building stronger connective tissue.
Build more flexibility – eccentric exercise helps you do this by increasing muscle fibers as well as muscle length.
It’s a great way to get firm. Prevention magazine tested an eccentric training program on readers. At the end of 14 days the average change was 6 pounds and 10 inches lost. Participants used a slow motion strength routine. The program included a six day workout of strength training cardio (walking and power-walking) (using dumbbells) and calorie management (1,600 daily) for two weeks.
Two exercises featured in the Prevention program include:
Plie with bicep curl: To do this stand with feet wide, toes out, dumbbells by thighs, palms forward. Bend knees and lower for 2 counts, as you curl weights toward shoulders. Slow It Down: Squeeze glutes and inner thighs as you stand up and straighten arms in 4 counts. Do 8 to 12 times. Firms your inner thighs, quads, biceps and glutes.
Breast Stroke: To do this lie face down with arms extended overhead and palms facing in. Lift head and arms off floor and hold for 2 counts. Lift chest a few inches off floor and swim arms out to sides and down toward legs (thumbs toward floor) in 2 counts. (Keep abs tight, toes on floor.)
Slow It Down: Lower chest and bend arms, bringing them along body back to start position in 4 counts. Do 8 to 10 times. Firms your upper and middle back.
Eccentric exercise may sound crazy but the proof is in the pudding. Give it a try and measure your own results.