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What goes up, must come down! This is true in not only gravity, but in most lifts as well. Eccentric training is critical for athlete and force development. The eccentric – or the lengthening – muscle action is arguably the most important part of a muscular contraction to indicate resilience to injury and overall max strength.

 

When we look at eccentric training protocols, we are generally looking at the count, or how many seconds are spent eccentric loading the muscle. An example of this would be in the squat, continuously descending for 5 seconds before standing up. 

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ECCENTRIC TRAINING

 

Eccentric overload in training has been shown to increase 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 with training protocols such as Triphasic Training and Cal Dietz, and even French Contrast training. The eccentric portion of a lift slows down the lengthening of the muscle to challenge the muscles more. 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. Eccentric training has been shown to 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 essence: 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.

This means that overall strength increases when focusing on the eccentric phase. And as you know, it is hard to manage what you cannot measure, so Perch made it easy to measure eccentric metrics.

 

VBT AND ECCENTRIC TRAINING

 

When we look at velocity based training, we want to see increases in power output. Researchers Douglas et al., did a systematic review of 40 studies researching the chronic effects of eccentric training. They found that eccentric training improves concentric muscle power and the stretch shortening cycle performance more than other training modalities. Muscle hypertrophy and strength were also primary effects of eccentric training in this review.

 

The only problem with this training, especially in training teams or groups of athletes is if they are hitting their eccentric goals with every rep in the workout. It is difficult to monitor every athlete in a weight room as they go through eccentric training. With Perch, every rep eccentric load count and velocity will be recorded and stored to make sure your athletes get the adaptation you desire from your training. With better strategies to monitor training loads, athletes will continue to get bigger, stronger, and more powerful as their season and training career progresses.

 

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SOURCES:

  1. Douglas, J., Pearson, S., Ross, A., & McGuigan, M. (2017). Chronic adaptations to eccentric training: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 47(5), 917.
  2. 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.

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