Get Stronger & Build Muscle with Eccentric Reps

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According to recent research [1] the average weight trainer can lift about 20kg more weight on controlled eccentric bench presses, compared to conventional concentric-focused lifting! Check out how to get stronger and build muscle with eccentric reps...

CONCENTRIC & ECCENTRIC REPS DEFINED

Any time you lift a weight, the move has a concentric and eccentric phase...

Concentric - the 'active push'
Eccentric - the 'inactive' lowering of the weight back to the starting position.

Although some trainers are well aware of the benefits of using a controlled tempo on the eccentric portion of lifts (e.g. 2-4 seconds lowering the weight), this strategy doesn't maximise eccentric loading.

Why?....

Because eccentric strength is significantly higher than the loads we can lift concentrically. So, if you can pump-out 10 reps of 80kg on the bench - you'll end the set before you're eccentrically fatigued. If you want to maximise muscle stimulation - keep reading!

THE POWER OF THE ECCENTRIC REP FOR MUSCLE GROWTH

Eccentric reps have the potential to cause an immense amount of muscle micro-trauma. The reason is all to do with the chemical processes that enable muscles to contract. With concentric reps, the actin and myosin filaments (fibres) attach to one another to work like a lever, before being chemically unbound once the contraction is complete. In contrast, when muscles contract eccentrically, the actin and myosin are ripped apart without the chemical reaction – now that's real muscle damage and it's why eccentric lifting could give you new gains!

SETTING UP AN ECCENTRIC MUSCLE GROWTH WORKOUT

In addition to remembering the value of a controlled eccentric lifting tempo during regular workouts, specifically adding some eccentric-only sets can give you awesome growth. The technique needs to be used sparingly, since the key is stimulating not annihilating! It's also highly advisable to use an intra-workout amino acid drink (AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™ or BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™) to respond to the muscle microtrauma. Follow the workout with a quality recovery shake such as OMNI MX® HARDCORE.

Try adding 3 eccentric sets once a week for a body part you want to target for extra growth.

Bench press example:

- Use a load around of around 120-130% of your usual 1REP max
- Get a spotter(s) to help you!
- Un-rack the weight and slowly lower it for around 4-5 seconds under full control
- Get the spotters to take the weight back to the starting position
- Repeat to muscle failure
- Repeat for 3 sets

It's not advisable to use heavy eccentric sets for exercises that over-load the spine, most notably squats and bench presses. Opting for leg extensions, leg press and leg curls is a much safer option!

Refs:

[1] Comparison of Concentric and Eccentric Bench Press Repetitions to Failure. Stephen B Kelly, Lee E Brown, Steven P Hooker, Pamela D Swan, Matthew P Buman, Brent A Alvar, Laurie E Black. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014 September 29.

get-stronger-build-muscle-with-eccentric-reps-748

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