Friday, October 23, 2015

4 Big Benefits of Eccentric Training

You know the old saying "slow and steady wins the race?" Well, in strength training, I believe slow and steady reps win the gainz. Eccentric training is, in my opinion, the Unsung Hero for improving athleticism. If you want to maximize strength, build muscle, and increase flexibility, stressing the eccentric portion of your lifts is a priority.

If you're asking "what the heck eccentric training," well, keep reading! There are three main types of skeletal muscle actions:
  • An isometric action is when a contraction is maintained for an extended period of time. Planks and wall-sits are two well known isometric exercises.
  • The concentric phase is aptly named, because it involves the contraction of the muscle. When you are standing up from the bottom of a squat, your quadriceps complex is concentrically contracting.
  • The eccentric phase allows your muscles to lengthen under load. An example of this is when you are lowering yourself down from the top of a pull-up bar.
Most exercises emphasize the concentric portion of the movement. A standard push-up, pull-up or squat are traditionally used to improve the contraction of the agonist (initiating) muscles. Think about it this way: when you set up for a bench press, usually you lower the bar down relatively steadily and then accelerate the bar on the way up, as you extend your elbows. This is the traditional way to perform the movement, and the way it is performed in competition.

Now, what if I told you that, by training the lowering phase of a bench press, you could actually improve your strength and acceleration on the press? Do you ever find that with heavier weights you just tend to let the bar drop right to your chest, with absolutely no control? In that case, you are weak eccentrically.

This is just but one example of how eccentric training can help boost your performance. Here are some of the best benefits you can reap from utilizing the lengthening phase of an exercise:
  1. Heavier loads. Research suggests that you can manage about 1.75 times as much weight in the eccentric phase than you can in the concentric phase. With a partner, load a heavy weight on the bar for bench. Try to control the weight down slowly and let your partner assist you in lifting the weight back up to the rack. This will help you increase your lifts at a rapid rate. I would recommend only doing only 3 sets of 4-5 repetitions the first few times you try these, as it is going to place a lot of stress on your muscles and your central nervous system.
  2. Increased muscle size (hypertrophy)! Strength coach Charles Poliquin frequently writes about the effects of eccentric work for maximum hypertrophy. He says "The eccentric phase causes more muscle damage and leads to greater rates of protein synthesis post-workout. Training that includes a concentric phase as well as an eccentric phase will cause the most muscle damage." This is a great way to get massive quickly. Here's an example: for a biceps curl, you could do tempo sets. Count 5 seconds on the way up, and 10 seconds on the way down. Try this for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
  3. Injury prevention. Several studies have used eccentric training of the hamstrings to prevent ACL tears and hamstring strains. One such study was performed on competitive soccer players. Askling et. al. concluded "[the] results indicate that addition of specific preseason strength training for the hamstrings – including eccentric overloading – would be beneficial for elite soccer players, both from an injury prevention and from performance enhancement point of view." Russian leg curls are an excellent example of an eccentric movement for the hamstrings complex. These can be pretty tough initially, so 3-4 repetitions for a couple sets will be enough to light that posterior chain on fiya.
  4. Improved flexibility. As you may or may not have deduced from my previous articles, I'm not a huge fan of static stretching. Eccentric training is a fantastic alternative to static stretching that will promote lasting changes on your level of flexibility. Dr. Yessis noted that "Good mornings are excellent. Here you're gonna get some stretching on the way down, and some strengthening on the way up ... You'll find the hamstrings kick in almost immediately." You can do this instead of a traditionally prescribed standing or seated hamstring stretch. Romanian deadlifts are another movement that can do wonders for your posterior chain.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that slow eccentric movements can have an exceptional effect on the central nervous system. With that in mind, it's not necessary to perform them for very many reps or sets, and you'll only need to do them once or twice per week to reap the benefits. Performing heavy eccentric exercises on a regular basis can be counter productive, so use them sparingly! Using these concepts appropriately, however, you will see tremendous improvements in strength, power, and many other facets of athleticism.

Works Cited:
  1. Askling, C., J. Karlsson, and A. Thorstensson. "Hamstring Injury Occurrence in Elite Soccer Players after Preseason Strength Training with Eccentric Overload." Scand J Med Sci Sports Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 13.4 (2003): 244-50. Web.
  2. Cowell, John F., John Cronin, and Matt Brughelli. "Eccentric Muscle Actions and How the Strength and Conditioning Specialist Might Use Them for a Variety of Purposes." Strength and Conditioning Journal 34.3 (2012): 33-48. Web.
  3. Farthing, Jonathan P., and Philip D. Chilibeck. "The Effects of Eccentric and Concentric Training at Different Velocities on Muscle Hypertrophy." European Journal of Applied Physiology 89.6 (2003): 578-86. Web.
  4. O'sullivan, K., S. Mcaulliffe, and N. Deburca. "The Effects Of Eccentric Training On Lower Limb Flexibility: A Systematic Review." British Journal of Sports Medicine 48.7 (2014): 648. Web.
  5. Raj, Isaac Selva, Stephen R. Bird, Ben A. Westfold, and Anthony J. Shield. "Effects of Eccentrically Biased versus Conventional Weight Training in Older Adults." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 44.6 (2012): 1167-176. Web.
  6. Schoenfeld, Brad. "The Use of Specialized Training Techniques to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy." Strength and Conditioning Journal 33.4 (2011): 60-65. Web.


  1. Cardio is a Waste of Time for Fat Loss

    While the mainstream fitness media still insists that aerobic
    exercise is a great way to lose weight, Turbulence Training users
    know that interval training is the better way to burn body fat.

    Still not convinced?

    A recent study published by the North American Association for the
    Study of Obesity, subjects aged 40 to 75 were instructed to do 60
    minutes of aerobic exercise per day for 6 days per week for an
    entire year.

    Given the amount of exercise, you'd expect weight losses of 20, 30
    pounds, or more, right?

    Well, the surprise findings showed the average fat loss for female
    subjects was only 4 pounds for the entire year, while men lost 6.6
    pounds of fat over the year. That's over 300 hours of aerobic
    exercise just to lose a measly 6 pounds of blubber. Not time well
    spent, in my opinion.

    So what's the better way? Stick with Turbulence Training, using
    interval training and strength training to get better bodysculpting
    results. With intervals, you'll achieve more fat burning results in
    less workout time.

    The next time you are out exercising, perform a session of interval
    training. If you are walking or running outside, find an incline
    that can challenge you for 60 seconds, then walk down for 60-120
    seconds, and repeat up to 6 times.

    If you walk or run on a treadmill, adjust the incline or speed to
    safely increase the challenge for 60 seconds, then return to the
    normal pace for 60-120 seconds, and repeat up to 6 times.

    You can also use a rowing machine, bicycle or stationary bike, or
    even an elliptical machine to do intervals.

    But whatever you do, stay away from boring, ineffective cardio
    exercise workouts and stick with Turbulence Training for your fat
    burning program.

    ===> Fast fat loss workouts... <=====

    Save time, burn fat,

    Craig Ballantyne, CTT
    Certified Turbulence Trainer
    Author, Turbulence Training

    "I'm 25 and was seriously overweight at the start of this year. I've
    been doing the TT for Fat Loss Workouts and after 5 months of
    training. I've lost nearly 28lbs. I want to take this opportunity
    to thank Craig for making your knowledge so accessible and your
    articles and blogs that not only make us think about our
    lifestyles, but encourage us to change them for better health."
    Kevin Thow, Sydney, Australia

    Get your very own copy of Turbulence Training & the Nutrition Guide here: ===> Cardio is a Waste of Time for Fat Loss <=====

    "Turbulence Training makes so much sense and I really enjoy the
    different workouts so never get bored. From an aussie that was
    looking for something other than just another weight workout
    with the same old moves this has been a real eye opener for me and
    I have been telling my friends just how great the TT method is."
    Kelli Tomkins, Australia

  2. Really, this is a great article! There are many information. Dear visitors, you go to this link.
    Easy Health & Fitness Tips- Go Fit Star!