When it comes to lifting there are three ways that you can work your muscle: Concentrically (when you shorten the muscle by squeezing it inwards such as your bicep when you do a bicep curl), isometric (where you hold a weight statically so your muscle needs to work to hold in place) and eccentrically )the lengthening phase of a movement ie. when you lower the bicep curl to lengthen the muscle).
Eccentric training is widely used by sports physiologists when training athletes as it is said to build up both the strength and the size of a muscle, better than if you were to do the usual concentric- eccentric movement together. By just working eccentrically, you don’t get as fatigued as you are skipping the “lifting/ concentric” phase and therefore you may be able to lift heavier weights than you would otherwise, meaning seeing results faster.
For example, as you lower your arm in a biceps curl, that lengthening movement would be considered eccentric. The lifting of the weight would be concentric.
To find out more, we spoke to international model Raf Miller who sears by the technique. Here, he shares 5 reasons Raf he sticks to this style of training.
Lift heavier weights
“Just doing the eccentric phase of an exercise means I can lift heavier as I don’t exhaust myself lifting the weight up. This means that I can get stronger faster. I am also not weighed down with extra “bulk” as with my body type I want to stay athletic and agile.”
Speeds up your metabolism
“It is suggested that while eccentric training used less oxygen and energy, art can actually create more force which enhances muscle growth and also increases your metabolism which is great for fat loss. So if you want to boost your metabolism without having to hit the pavement every day this is one way of doing it.”
Good for injury recovery
“Eccentric training is used a lot for rehabilitation to strength up the relevant muscles again after an injury. This is because eccentric exercise creates more face with less energy so you are unlikely to overwork the injured joint or muscle. It’s great for those who are injured, those who don’t want to be injured but also older adults.”
“Research has shown that repetitive short bursts of intense exercise is more effective than longer stretches of sustained exercise. Efficiency is essential to eccentric exercise as when under an eccentric driven movement, your muscles are held longer in a tensed phase. This means faster results and potentially reduced time working out.”
“Eccentric exercise may also improve your ability to perform high intensity action such as sprinting or jumping. For non-sporting professionals, incorporating at least two sessions of 30 minutes of eccentric training can advance physical performance.”
How do I do it?
“Unless you have a strong trainer with you to lift the weight up for you, it is hard to only work the eccentric phase of a movement but thanks to connected fitness, that has changed.
The V-Form Trainer is a new fit tech device that allows you to program a work-out that suits you, so if you only want to work the eccentric phase of a movement, you can program the device to have no resistance on the concentric phase, and then load you up for the eccentric phase so you can lower a heavy weight without having to exhaust yourself picking it up.”
What types of movements can you perform?
Using a device with weight-loaded resistance cables such as the V-Form Trainer, the following exercises are some examples of eccentric movements:
- bench presses pushing upwards
- pec fly
- kneeling two arm landmine press
- right-angle leg raises on all fours
- lying down leg raises
- bicep curls
- sit ups using the arm cables