Doing eccentric exercise can help you build more muscle, lose fat and takes less time. Eccentric training is defined as the active contraction of the muscle along with lengthening of the muscle. For example when you are doing a bicep curl, the eccentric part of the exercise is the lowering motion that occurs after you lift the dumbbell. The movement is done slowly to keep the muscle in a state of contraction for longer. Sometimes this type of training is known as “negative training” because it is the negative part of the movement. There are ways to do this at home and there are ways to do this at the gym. I will post some videos below from YouTube that will demonstrate some of the concepts of eccentric exercise.
Eccentric exercise trades quantity for quality. The goal is to put more of your muscle fibers to work. This means that you can get a better workout in, with better results in less time. This is not to imply, however, that it is easy. In fact, if you do this correctly it will be very tough and you will have some significant muscle soreness.
Examples of eccentric exercise
Push ups – doing an eccentric push up should be called a ‘lower down’ instead. You can do them from your toes, from your knees or against a wall. You start in push up postilion and then you lower yourself down VERY slowly to a count of 10. If your arms are too fatigued from the lowering you don’t have to do the upward motion of the push up. Just get back into position and do it again. Try to do it for a total of 6 lower downs. If you have enough strength left at the lowest part of the movement on the last one you can hold the lowest position for 10 seconds for some extra muscle contraction. Give it a try during your next workout!
This first video is the author of the book The Calorie Myth demonstrating how to do squats with eccentric exercise.
This next video is great for doing eccentric exercise with pull ups. I’m not strong enough (yet) to do pull ups the right way so this is how I strengthen the muscles involved in doing pull ups. I do have a pull up bar but I have also been known to do this on the trapeze bar on my kids’ swingset or on some playground equipment.
This next video shows how you can do a shoulder press, chest press, row and squats using eccentric training.
I’d love for you to try some of these exercises and post in the comments how you did. If you do these right you may find that you experience some significant muscle soreness the next day. Rest and let your muscles build and repair.