What goes up, must come down! This is true in gravity and in weightlifting. However, it is not always controlled outside of the weight room. Because of this, eccentric training is critical for athlete and force development. Eccentric training is the lengthening muscle action. It is arguably the most important part of a muscular contraction to indicate resilience to injury and overall max strength.
Eccentric training protocols are focused at the count in seconds that are spent loading the muscle. For instance, in the squat, continuously descending for 5 seconds before standing up.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ECCENTRIC TRAINING
Eccentric overload in training increases muscle hypertrophy, strength, and power. A researcher named Erling Asmussen first introduced eccentric training in 1953 as “excentric” training. This has been popularized in recent years. Training protocols such as Triphasic Training and Cal Dietz, and even French Contrast training, for instance. The eccentric portion of a lift slows down the lengthening of the muscle for a greater challence. Therefore, this helps lead to faster muscle repair, injury prevention, and greater muscle growth.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT ECCENTRIC TRAINING
A strong foundation of strength is important for force development. Above all, eccentric training can help increase overall strength. Researchers Higbie et al., studied concentric and eccentric training of the quadriceps muscle on strength, cross-sectional area and neural activation. They found that eccentric training increased strength in the eccentric muscle action to a larger degree than the concentric training. In other words, there was more efficiency in gaining strength while training eccentric than concentric.
They also saw greater increases in hypertrophy from the eccentric training group than the concentric training group. Similarly, this means overall strength increases when focusing on the eccentric phase. However, it is hard to manage what you cannot measure, so Perch made it easy to measure eccentric metrics.
VBT AND ECCENTRIC TRAINING
With velocity based training, we want to see increases in power output. Researchers Douglas et al., did a systematic review of 40 studies. These studies researched the chronic effects of eccentric training. They found that eccentric training improves concentric muscle power. Eccentric training also improves the stretch shortening cycle performance. This was true with eccentric more than other training modalities. In addition, more effects of eccentric training in this review were muscle hypertrophy and strength.
However, the problem with eccentric training is if athletes hit their eccentric goals every rep. It is difficult to monitor every athlete in a weight room as they train eccentrically. With Perch, every rep eccentric load count and velocity will be recorded and stored. This ensures athletes get the desired adaptation from training. Ultimately, with better strategies to monitor training loads, athletes will continue to get bigger, stronger, and more powerful. This is true as both their seasons and training career progresses. In conclusion, train eccentrically, measure it, manage it!
- Douglas, J., Pearson, S., Ross, A., & McGuigan, M. (2017). Chronic adaptations to eccentric training: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 47(5), 917.
- Higbie, E. J., Cureton, K. J., Warren, G. L. 3rd, & Prior, B. M. (1996). Effects of concentric and eccentric training on muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and neural activation. Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 81(5), 2173–81.