There seems to be a little confusion about eccentric training, so I thought I’d do a post to benefit everyone.
An eccentric contraction is basically the part of the movement that lengthens your muscles.
An eccentric contraction is the direct opposite of a concentric contraction.
Think about when you’re doing a push-up…
The eccentric is the part of the movement when you’re lowering your body towards the ground.
The same goes for a pull-up. As you lower your body from the top of the bar, that’s the eccentric is the part of the movement.
Consequently, the concentric part of a push-up is when you’re pushing your body from the bottom position, to where your arms are fully extended.
And therefore, the concentric part of a pull-up is when you’re pulling your full bodyweight up to that bar.
The Benefits of Negative Training
You might have heard me talk about the benefits of training for negatives before.
To be honest, this is one of the secret weapons being used by most GTW Tribe Members.
Why is it a ‘secret’?
Well, if not many other people are using this training strategy, then it is either a secret or people don’t understand the benefits of training for negatives.
Proof of this is easy to see if you know what to look for.
Go to any gym near you, sit down and just watch for 5 minutes.
I bet you that you’ll see everyone concentrating on the concentric part of their movements.
When most guys do pull-ups, they are focusing so hard on getting their body up to the bar. They see the eccentric part of the movement, or the negative part, as a rest phase of the movement.
It’s where they gee themselves up for the positive part, or the concentric part of their movements. And often, their body just drops like a sack of spuds to the bottom of every rep.
Likewise with bench press or push-ups. The weight of their body, drops like a 5-ton lead pipe, ready for the explosive push back to the top.
Yes, explosive training does have its place in your workout arsenal. But for the majority of the time, that’s not what they are training.
They’re basically training like the negative part of the rep is unimportant.
But GTW Tribe Members know better…
The Science of Negative Training
There is a lot of evidence coming out that the eccentric part of the movement might even be more beneficial for building muscle and strength.
I know I’m a bit of a geek on the science of training, but hey, why not. Sure, trying things out for yourself is critical in your body’s development. Nothing like discovering what works for you.
But it’s also nice to get some validation for those discoveries you make while training from the scientific community.
I can’t remember every detail of one very relevant study I read. But it went something like this.
The scientists used a group of men and divided them into three groups.
All of the groups had to perform leg press and leg extensions but with a different focus.
This group trained with normal reps that included the concentric and eccentric movement.
This group used a machine with a hydraulic device which could take the weight and lower it back down once the participants had reached the top of the rep.
This was so the scientists could test what happens if they only formed the concentric part without the eccentric negative.
This group used the machine with the hydraulic device as well, and did two concentric movements, but no negative.
What were the results?
Group 1 which did both the concentric and eccentric movements, increased in type two fiber size by 32%.
Group 2 which only did the concentric movement, didn’t see much progress during the study.
Group 3 which only did concentric, but twice as many reps increased in their type two fiber size by about 25 or 26%.
Now, of course this is only one study but it leans to the fact that the negative part of the rep is responsible for more muscle growth.
Can We Just Train Negatives?
I’ve always held the belief that one of the best ways to train certain bodyweight movements for beginners who can’t do a full rep is to train just for negatives.
An easy example would be the pull-ups. If you are 140kg and just getting into training, there is a very strong chance you can’t do a single pull up.
So, would this trainee just give up and not use pull-ups in their training?
I would advise that they use a box or a stool under the pull-up bar. They stand on the stool, grab the bar so they are at the top of the movement, and fight gravity all the way down.
As always, there are a lot of factors at play here. But let’s say he can fight gravity and it takes him 2 seconds to drop to the hanging position.
I would advise he holds that hanging position for as long as possible, and then release.
At first, he might be able to hang for 4 or 5 seconds. This is a great way to improve grip strength. And also increasing ‘time under tension’. Take a quick breather.
Then, back on the stool. And do the movement again. After a few weeks, he will have the strength to complete at least one full rep. Most likely, more.
Of course, by following the GTW Health and Fitness Lifestyle Program for those few weeks, his whole body is building strength all over. And he will have cut at least a few kg to lighten the load on pull-ups, but you get the idea.
There’s a lot more I want to discuss on this topic, but it’s just hit 4.30 and so it’s time for my afternoon workout.
Please come back for more great insights into negative training and eccentrics real soon.
Keep training hard (mentally & physically),
Greg ‘Take No Prisoners’ Noland
CEO & Founder
Grey Top Warriors
“HOW TO DEVELOP “TRUE STRENGTH” AND GET RIPPED IN JUST 30-DAYS USING SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES
YOU CAN PERFORM ANYWHERE & ANYTIME WITHOUT PUTTING WEAR & TEAR ON YOUR JOINTS FROM HEAVY LIFTING”
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