Advanced eccentric exercise

In our personal training we refer to the portion of an exercise where you lower the weight and let the working muscle stretch and lengthen (after having contracted and shortened it) as the ‘eccentric’ portion. If the most you could possibly lift in decent form was 100 lbs you could comfortably handle lowering 140 lbs in the same exercise. This phenomena means that about half the time you are exercising you are actually unloading and resting (while you bring a weight back down). Allowing for more resistance on the eccentrics can significantly aid in building strength when handled with care.

In this video we show a full body workout of standard exercises which have been modified to make the negative portion a lot tougher and tap into this eccentric ability. Except in the case of pushing moves, where removing one limb would risk undo body twist, we let you alternate sides each rep. The alternating means you can go extra heavy as one side gets a bit of a break after each phase.

To choose weights try the move first with about 10% extra weight than your normal sets and get a feel for the action. You will be surprised just how heavy you can go in many of the moves. The key is to move slow to cut away any cheating or risk of over-straining. Take your time transitioning from moving one direction to the other, it is not a race it is all about how much tension you can get on the working muscles.

The video shows a workout covering most of the body but you can add in these techniques here and there peppered throughout your standard workout. Perhaps you can use this approach to stimulate your weaker responding body parts. On whole because the technique allows for extra heavy loads it can help shorten and thus maximize workout time.

Be well, be strong,

Andrew and Tierney


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