Why I Need Eccentric Exercises in My Strength Training Program
Breaking down eccentric and concentric
Muscle movement can be broken down into concentric and eccentric motion. Concentric muscle contraction is what usually comes to mind when thinking of typical exercise. It is the standard contraction and lifting motion, when the muscle shortens and its two connection points come close together. This movement is acting against the force of gravity and improves the muscle's ability to pull and lift.
The eccentric contraction is utilizing the same muscle, however activates during the lowering part of the motion. As the muscle lengthens, the two connection points of the muscle get further apart, but the muscle continues to contract and still exerts force on the weight. It acts as a sort of braking mechanism, slowing down the lowering movement and preventing the weight from pulling down too quickly with the force of gravity. Because of this, eccentric contraction is best activated by slowing down the lowering movement of an exercise. It helps to have a set time for the lowering action, in order to keep yourself on pace. Source
Eccentric training is crucial as many of our daily routines and habits depend on it. Rudimentary activities such as sitting down on the toilet or walking down the stairs involve such movements. This means that for more frail persons who have difficulty performing such functions should place extra emphasis on ensuring the presence of eccentric movements when exercising to improve their ability to perform such tasks. On the other hand, concentric movements include standing up and walking up stairs. Rarely do we need just one of these types of movements, meaning a combination of the two is essential in any healthy training regime.
The importance of Eccentric resistance training for older adults
According to a Japanese study, eccentric resistance training was deemed more effective in improving lower limb strength, mobility, and postural stability of older adults when compared with concentric training. Healthy older adults (65–84 years) were placed into eccentric or concentric training groups. They performed 4–6 basic manual resistance exercises focusing on either eccentric or concentric muscle contractions once at a community centre and at least twice at home a week for 8 weeks. Muscle thickness of the quadriceps femoris (MT), knee extensor maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (MVC), 30-second chair stand (CS), 3-metre timed up and go (TUG), 2-minute step (2MS), sit and reach (SR), and static balance with eyes open and closed (Bal-EC) were assessed before and 7 days after the last community centre session. The results suggest the significance of emphasising eccentric muscle contractions in movements to maintain and improve physical function in older adults.
When exercising ensure that your exercises with your equipment offers both eccentric and concentric movements. Naturally HUR equipment works both the eccentric and concentric muscles when training, providing an optimal method of exercise for persons of all ages. See our Premium Strength Line.