You’ve probably heard about eccentric and concentric training and how it helps you maximize your workout regimen. In fact, both of these training methods are highly recommended by fitness experts and personal trainers because of their many benefits.
Here, we’ll get to know eccentric and concentric training and what they can offer to your fitness goals:
Understanding eccentric training
Eccentric training is built on the concept of eccentric contraction, which describes the movement of a muscle while it lengthens under load. Danish researcher Erling Asmussen first described this motion in 1953 referring to “ex” or away from the “centric” or center of a muscle.
Eccentric contraction in a workout includes lowering the body during a pull-up or crunch, the downward motion of a squat or push-up and the lowering of the weight in a shoulder press.
Also called negative workout or negative training, eccentric training focuses in stimulating eccentric contraction by increasing the time in which the muscle is under tension to improve its size, function and strength.
Both new and seasoned fitness enthusiasts can use eccentric training because it helps promote muscle growth and development.
The benefits of eccentric training:
If you’re already getting tired of doing those slow reps, these benefits will surely inspire you to work harder:
- It increases strength.
Strength is the backbone of every successful workout regimen, so improving your strength means that you can achieve your fitness goals faster or you can perform better as an athlete.
According to some studies, the body can tolerate up to 1.75 times more weight eccentrically than concentrically. This results in increased muscle growth, which also translates to improved strength. If you’re an athlete, eccentric training will allow you to maximize your power during competition, especially if your sport involves heavy lifting.
- It protects you from injuries.
Whether you’re a gym buff or an athlete, you know that the more you work out, the more you are at risk for injuries. But with eccentric training, you get to strengthen your ligaments and tendons, which promotes better immunity to injuries.
It is especially important if you’re always lifting heavy loads or if you get hit hard in contact sports.
- It produces greater muscle damage.
If you look at seasoned athletes, you’ll see that they usually prefer slow reps with moderate weights because it causes more tears to their muscles. As these muscles repair, they grow even bigger, which meets their goal of building a stronger body.
Understanding concentric training
Concentric training is a method that involves concentric muscular movement or simply put, contractions. Concentric movement happens when you lengthen your muscles to produce force like raising the weight in a biceps curl.
Other examples of concentric training involve lifting an object from the ground, standing up during squat, doing a hamstring curl, pressing to the top during a push-up or the upward motion during a sit-up.
The benefits of concentric training:
- It prevents muscle soreness.
A lot of athletes make the mistake of working out too much a few days before the competition and ending up being sore on the day of the competition itself.
Now if you’re going to compete and you still want to be in good condition without having to worry about muscle soreness, you can do deadlifts through concentric training instead of doing a full workout. This means that instead of putting the weights back on the floor, you can just drop them directly.
- It helps you practice a good form.
Concentric training is better than eccentric training in practicing a certain form because it allows you to nail a part of the routine technically before you can do the full workout regimen. Some coaches and personal trainers practice this by letting you do just the first half of a lift until you can master it.
This gives your body time to get used to the concentric movement before you can move on to the eccentric part of the exercise routine.
- It is meant for building stronger but not bigger muscles.
It’s not uncommon to see sprinters and runners focus on concentric exercise routines because it helps them build stronger yet leaner muscles that promote speed.
Some coaches and trainers will also use a combination of eccentric and concentric training to build muscles and allow the athlete to be more efficient with their training.
Both eccentric and concentric training have their benefits depending on what your purpose is for working out.
That is why it’s important to work with a reliable fitness professional to help you create an effective fitness regimen that uses the right methods to achieve your goals.