Using ‘Negative Repetitions’ or Eccentric Training to Increase Strength and Power
During resistance training the muscle undergoes a Stretch-Shortening-Cycle, there are two phases in this cycle: the stretching or ‘Eccentric’ phase and the shortening or ‘Concentric’ Phase. Most traditional resistance training focuses on the Concentric phase of the muscle contraction to increase strength and power, however over recent years, research has found that most gains in strength and power occur when training the Eccentric phase. There are many ways to modify your training to implement Eccentric training, the most common being the use of Tempo training or performing exercises that are specifically targeted for Eccentric training.
Tempo training: this style of training is often referred to as ‘Negative Repetitions’ training and is a manipulation of the time under tension for the movement being performed. To place an Eccentric influence on your training, you may modify your tempo to increase time under tension during the Eccentric phase of the exercise and decrease time under tension for the Concentric phase. For example, when performing a barbell back squat, you may set your tempo at 3-1-X-0, this translates to a 3 second Eccentric or lowering phase, a 1 second pause at the bottom of the movement, X represents an explosive Concentric phase while ascending to the top of the movement, with zero pause at the end of the movement before initiating the next repetition. Tempo training can be applied to most exercises as long as they have an Eccentric and Concentric phase.
Eccentric targeted exercises: some exercises are specifically designed to emphasise the Eccentric phase of the movement, such as a Nordic Hamstring Curl or a Romanian Deadlift, other exercises such as plyometric exercises, including: drop jumps, squat jumps, plyo lunges and bench throws are also designed to emphasise the Eccentric phase of the movement while also emphasising the generation of force. Most exercises in this category have been proven to show superior increases in strength and power when compared to traditional exercises.
Technique should always be the focus while completing any Eccentric training, when performed properly at the correct tempo, intensity and frequency, the benefits are amplified. Eccentric training is also proven to be of use with injury prevention and rehabilitation and is most commonly used to help prevent and treat hamstring injuries across a broad spectrum of sports. If you would like more information on injury prevention and rehabilitation, or you are interested on learning more about this topic, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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