The Power of Eccentric Contractions

Eccentric contractions occur when force is applied to muscles in an elongated position. This type of resistance helps build muscle growth and works opposite to concentric muscle contractions.

An example of eccentric contractions can be found doing a bench press action. Eccentric contractions are engaged when you pull the bar towards your chest. The muscles contract to prevent the bar from falling down too quickly. The opposite, concentric contractions, are the muscles engaging when you push the bar back up. Both types of contractions promote muscle growth, but utilize the muscles in different ways. Bench press joint actions show how the contractions of the muscles work. You are always engaging those muscles. Without the contractions, the bar would collapse on you coming down and would not be controlled on the way back up.

Sport-specific training programs will use the power of eccentric contractions to strengthen muscles and build up stability to help stabilize the rest of the muscle. A sport specific example of specific training of eccentric contractions is running. The soreness you feel in your quadriceps after a hard run is the result of your muscles taking that force of hitting the ground and pushing back off while fully elongated. As you continue to run on a regular basis, those muscles get used to those contractions and the soreness goes away. You have to run farther and harder to fatigue those same muscles. Having those muscles contracted and developed helps you in your sport long term, allowing you to train harder.

A strength coach can help you with your strength and fitness training to make sure you are doing each move effectively to engage and contract your muscles for maximum output. Eccentric contractions are powerful movements that are often not thought of when working with resistance or suspension training equipment, since the moves seem very small and natural. Having an awareness and knowledge of how your muscles contract and work allows you to work your muscles to their full potential. Unleash the power of your eccentric contractions and take your workouts to the next level!

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