Concentric vs. eccentric training. Simply put, the concentric part of an exercise is when the muscle shortens in length. If you think about a very basic move like biceps curl, the concentric part of the move is when you curl the weight toward your shoulder. The eccentric part is the lengthening phase. Your muscles need to work in both of these phases for optimal development.
According to the exercise experts at Life Fitness, putting an emphasis on the eccentric part of an exercise is one of the most effective and efficient ways to get results. You should be spending more time in the eccentric phase (four counts for example) than the concentric one (two counts for example) in order to build muscle where you are strongest.
No more relying on momentum. When you concentrate on lowering your weights slowly, you eliminate one of the biggest workout “cheats” around:momentum. By slowing down the exercise, you’ll eliminate the momentum and your muscles will work harder through the full range of motion.
Create more muscle tension. A study from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found men and women who slowed down the amount of time it took to perform one repetition had an approximate 50 percent increase in strength after eight weeks of training. Try slowing down these exercises for greater gains:
Bicep curls: Lift your weights at your sides for two counts (concentric), lower for four counts (eccentric).
Tricep overhead extensions: Lift your weights up behind your head for two counts (concentric), lower back down behind the head, bending the elbows, for four counts (eccentric).
Lunge: Stand with right foot front, left foot back. Lunge down for four counts (eccentric) and lift back up in two counts (concentric). Remember to repeat on the other leg.
Squats: Stand with feet hip-width apart, sit back into an imaginary chair for four counts (eccentric), come back up to standing in two counts (concentric).
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