It’s really something that all of us have been subconsciously doing since the first time we ever picked up a weight. After some details about it, all of it will come together and make a lot of sense. So what is eccentric training? Let’s dive in.
There are two parts to every movement: the lifting (or concentric) phase and the lowering (or eccentric) phase. Some refer to this action as the negative part of the move.
When you control the weight on the down movement instead of just letting gravity do the work, you are taxing the target muscle (or muscles for compound movements) and making the most out of every rep.
How slow should you actually go? …it depends. Other factors come into play, such as what exercise you are doing, your experience level and how much weight you are using. But a basic rule of thumb is one-to-three seconds at the minimum and approximately five-to-six seconds at the most.
What you are doing is breaking down the muscle to build it up again. By keeping the tension going throughout the full range results in better growth once the recovery and recuperation phase kicks in. You’re going to feel the difference if you take advantage of this rehabilitation method. It may sound backwards, but you are actually using less energy when performing eccentric training. The reason is that you are not doing an explosive-type movement and it is more controlled.
Another attraction with eccentric training is that it strengthens your tendons and increases flexibility. If you ever have had to undergo surgery and attended physical therapy afterwards, you were put through exercises with a light weight that was used in an eccentric manner. The therapist gave you a small dumbbell and had you do whatever movement with it, in a slow and controlled manner. He or she then measured your range of motion. Each week you went through the same thing to see improvements.
All of that boils down to the fact that eccentric training works – in the physical therapist’s office and in the gym. Make sure you have been educated on proper mechanics before going it alone!