The Benefits of Eccentric Exercise
Eccentric exercise – is when a muscle is under tension while it is lengthening. For example, the eccentric phase of a bicep curl would be when we are lowering the weight in a nice controlled manner. When doing this, the muscle will lengthen while there is tension being applied to it.
In everyday living eccentric activity is equivalent to using our muscles as brakes or shock absorbers.
The biggest benefit of eccentric exercise training is that we are able to produce the greatest magnitude of force with minimal metabolic effort (energy).
Since we are able to produce much greater force eccentrically, we can stress our muscles much more to stimulate muscle growth, and increase strength gains much more efficiently than concentric exercises (this would be equivalent to the up phase of a bicep curl).
Although eccentric exercise can also cause instant inflammation and structural damage to our muscles, with proper rest and training the body will quickly adapt and we can start to take advantage of all the benefits of eccentric training without its negative consequences.
Eccentric training is great for rehabilitation as most injuries happen in an eccentric phase and strengthening the muscle eccentrically will help prevent further injury.
Eccentric training is great for athletic performance as a lot of sport specific movement involve eccentric movements and training eccentrically has shown to improve sprinting, jumping, agility and strength in athletes.
If done properly, eccentric exercise is great for the elderly population as they are able to generate lots of force but with minimal energy. This can help with bone density, and muscle mass.