We all want to get the maximum benefit from our time working out. Every week we read about new ways to do so, but there is a time-tested method of maxing out your gains that too few people know about. It’s called eccentric training and, in this article, you’ll learn all about it.
What Is Eccentric Training?
Eccentric training is also known as negative training. It places the emphasis on the negative, or lowering, part of an exercise. There are three phases to any resistance training exercise:
• The concentric (lifting) phase
• The transition phase
• The eccentric (lowering) phase
Let’s use the barbell curl to explain these phases. When you curl the weight up to your shoulder, you are working through the concentric phase of the exercise. The transition occurs at the top of the lift. Then the eccentric part of the exercise is when you lower the weight back to the start position.
The majority of people put all of their effort into the concentric part of the phase. As a result, they either drop the weight back to the start position or lower it very quickly. In doing so they are robbing themselves of a major training benefit.
Eccentric Training Benefits
You are significantly stronger in the eccentric portion of the lift than in the concentric part. Most people are about 15% stronger in the eccentric phase. That means that you are able to handle more weight during the eccentric portion of the rep. Let’s say, for example, that you are able to bench press a maximum of 300 pounds on the concentric phase of the bench press. You will actually be able to handle somewhere in the area of 345 pounds during the eccentric phase. This gives you the potential for greater muscular overload and consequent muscle growth.
How would this work in practice? You could load the heavier weight and resist on the way down and then have a pair of training partners to remove the extra weight so that you can push the concentric portion with your positive maximum or resist on the way down, and have your partner spot you to accommodate the extra load on the concentric phase. You should plan to take between three and seven seconds to lower the weight under control.
If you have never done this type of training before, you will experience significant strength gains from doing so.
You can also use eccentric training with the same weight on the concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise. In this case, however, you will take between seven and 10 seconds to lower the weight. When you lower a weight, you are actually building more strength than when you lift it. So, the slower you do so and the more control you exert, the greater your strength gains will be.
Eccentric training is a great tool to use when you cannot complete full concentric reps. An example of this could be when you are doing pull-ups. Let’s say that you have just pumped out a dozen full pull-ups and reached positive failure, meaning that you cannot do another full rep. You have not yet, though, reached negative failure. So, stopping the exercise now is actually robbing you of potential benefit. So, don’t stop; have your training partner place his hands under your feet and to help you get up to the top pull-up position. Now, lower your body slowly and under control, taking around seven seconds to get all the way down. Do this for five or six reps and you will have reached negative failure, where you can no longer control the descent. At this point, you will have totally exhausted every single muscle fiber in your lats and will be primed for maximum muscle growth.
You can also use eccentric training to help you push heavier weights during the concentric phase of an exercise. Let’s say that you have reached a plateau on your overhead dumbbell press. Grab a weight that is 10% heavier and have your training partner help you through the concentric phase. Now lower the dumbbells back to the start position under control, aiming for a seven-second count. This will massively boost your ability to lift that weight through the concentric phase, which you should be doing within a couple of weeks.
More Muscle Mass
Eccentric training places greater stress on the muscle tissue. That enhanced stress creates microtears within the muscle fiber that needs to be repaired after the workout. So long as you rest and feed your body with plenty of quality protein, the muscle fiber will build back bigger and stronger. When you add a slow eccentric phase to the repetition, you are dramatically increasing the time under tension for that set. The ideal time under tension to produce the greatest strength and muscle gain is 45-55 seconds. Yet most people’s sets only take around half of that time. Imagine if you were doing a set of eight reps where you held for five seconds. That gives you 40 seconds on just the eccentric phase. The concentric phase should take one second, so that adds another eight seconds, for a total of 48 seconds of time under tension for the set. That is right within our ideal range.
The most injuries, in sport, in the gym and in real life, occur during the lowering part of an action. Controlled eccentric training allows you to get a lot stronger during the lowering phase of any movement. This significantly reduces your chance of injury. The muscles will also be able to absorb a lot of force, such as when your arm decelerates after throwing a baseball. Even if you trip and fall, your greater eccentric power will allow you to catch yourself rather than going down.
How to Do It
Eccentric training will lead to extreme muscle soreness. That is because, as we have noted, this type of training causes greater stress to the muscle fiber. As a result, you should ease into this type of training gradually. Rather than jumping in and doing a seven-second eccentric on every rep of every set, choose one exercise per workout and add an eccentric component to one or two sets. Start with focusing on slowing down in the eccentric phase. Lower the weight to a count of three, gradually increasing the time until it is taking a full seven seconds to complete the phase.
Every week, try adding in an extra element of eccentric training by either overloading a set or performing the seven-second concentric. You should also pick one exercise every workout where you perform eccentrics to failure once you have reached concentric failure, just as we demonstrated with the pull-up example.
Eccentric training is an extremely powerful technique that you need to be using in the gym. Make use of the suggestions provided in this article and you will be amazed how much more intense your workouts will be, how much sorer your muscles will be and how much more growth you will achieve from your efforts on the gym floor.
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The post Build More Muscle With Eccentric Training appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: Build More Muscle With Eccentric Training
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/build-more-muscle-with-eccentric-training/
Published Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2021 16:42:39 +0000
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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.
Active Muscles in Leg Extensions
The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1
Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.
The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.
The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.
The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.
1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.
2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.
3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).
4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.
5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.
6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.
7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.
8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.
The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6
Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.
This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.
1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.
2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.
3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.
4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.
5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.
6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.
7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.
8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.
9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.
The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/ripped-leg-blast-for-carved-thighs/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000
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The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/nutrition/supplements/preworkout/primal-preworkout/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000
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