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  • Writer's pictureElana Withnall

An ''Eccentric'' Frame of Mind

Welcome back, Lani again.

This time around, I'll be sharing with you some training tips to get the most out of a simple exercise, without having to increase your weight or repetition range.

Let's talk resistance training here:

An ''eccentric'' movement is also known as:

''The negative,'' the 'downward phase' or the ''slow phase'' of a resistance training movement.

A lot of people underestimate its power to make muscular gains, and rather focus on a slower ''concentric '' movement. Also known as the ''positive,'' upward / or more difficult phase of a muscular contraction.

Eg) in a simple barbell back squat. Instead of down for 1 seconds up for 2-4 seconds.

Which I see a lot of people do, very swiftly and with very poor form.

While yes, they are challenging their body's ability to lift heavy weight, at the ''most challenging phase'' I.e the upward phase of a bench press. By doing so, so swiftly on the downward phase they aren't challenging their muscle's ability to withstand a force; for a longer period of time.

The concentric phase or the upward phrase is what's being focused on. There is potential for making this simple exercise, more difficult; essentially making the exerciser work harder.

If we take into consideration, a controlled eccentric movement.

An example could be a 3:1:1 movement.

Down for three, hold for one at the bottom phase of the movement. Up for one.

This is ideal for someone wanting to build strength; without changing their weights or repetition range. Just changing the timing or rhythm of the movement; focusing on the eccentric. They will notice is become slightly more difficult.

As well as making the most of a ''controlled'' and slower eccentric movement, a muscle can essentially make more ''tears'' = more ''gains'' (potential for muscular hypertrophy) in the long run.

A popular Arthur Jones training study, into the philosophy of eccentric training, discusses that:

''Strength increases are produced by exercise, in proportion to the intensity of work. And the ''Negative Only'' exercise, provides an intensity of work that is impossible in any other manner.'' (The Arthur Jones Collection; ''Negative Only'' Strength Training).

The disadvantage of Arthur's method is it does little, in the way of making cardiovascular training gains. As it does not produce heavy breathing, or pulse rate by lifting in a ''positive'' concentric manner.

But the benefits of training in this way, has been proven in a number of tests Jones did on Casey Viator, using a Nautilus Omni Curling Machine.

There you go - by creating variety, within which phase you want to challenge the muscle during a contraction. You can also vary in the difficulty of the exercise, without changing weight or repetition range. Bring on the ''gainz!''

Until next time...

Keep dreaming and believing,

Xx Lani

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