Get Stronger with Eccentric Training

Eccentric training is a great way to get stronger and build more muscle and power, and it can easily be incorporated into any workout.

The eccentric phase of an exercise refers to the lowering (negative) movement, as opposed to the concentric phase, which refers to the lifting movement.

RELATED: The Importance of Triphasic Training, Part 2: The Eccentric Phase

As a complement to concentric training, eccentric training is effective because it activates more muscle fibers. In addition, your muscles have the capacity to handle greater loads when lowering the weight, so your body can handle the load for greater durations, increasing time under tension. Eccentric training can be applied to virtually any exercise, loaded or bodyweight. Here are some of our favorites:

Bench Press (spotters required)

  • Load = 75-85% of 1RM
  • Start with bar in "up" position and arms fully extended.
  • Slowly lower the bar to your chest, taking 6 to 10 seconds to do so.

Sets/Reps: 3x3; 1 minute rest between sets

Squat (spotters required)

  • Load = 75-85% of 1RM
  • Start in upright, standing position and slowly (6 to 10 seconds) lower your body to full squat position.

Sets/Reps: 3x3; 1 minute rest between sets

RELATED: Henrik Zetterberg Eccentric Calf Raise

Chin-Up

  • Bodyweight or loaded
  • Underhand grip
  • Pull your chest to the bar.
  • Slowly (6 seconds) lower your body until your arms are fully extended.

Sets/Reps: 3x3, 1 minute rest between sets

Dip

  • Bodyweight or loaded.
  • Hold dip bars with arms fully extended in "up" position.
  • Slowly (6 seconds) lower your body until your upper arms are below your elbows.

Sets/Reps: 3x3, 1 minute rest between sets.

Add variety to your training by making one workout per week an "eccentric exercise day" and perform all your usual exercises with this strategy. You can also create a training cycle, with a week or two of eccentric training, followed by a week or two of isometric training, and finally a week or two of traditional concentric training.


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