Attention! Strength Performance Training (SPT) lovers. Let’s get specific on some terminology you probably hear a lot in our SPT classes at Accelerate Seattle. Remember, at Accelerate, the toughest gym in Seattle, we care about training for performance, training for strength and functional training that will keep you strong throughout life and give you the results you want.
So what the hell does ‘eccentric’ mean and why do we use it?
Concentric: this is the part of the rep where you are raising the weight. This part is the shortening of the prime mover (prime mover meaning the muscle that does most of the work in the exercise).
Eccentric: this is the lowering of the weight. This part elongates the prime mover.
If you want to get really fancy, there are two more phases that act as a transition between concentric and eccentric, but we won’t get that geeky on you today.
In other gyms, coaches and thus members forget about the eccentric part of the movement. All the focus is on the concentric (raising the weight up). Once it’s up, there’s not much discussion about what to do or how to drop it down. We see this all the time in the popular strength and conditioning classes where coaches ask members to conduct a certain number of reps as fast as possible so they can move on to the next thing.
That’s where the chain gyms get it wrong. In terms of muscle development, the eccentric portion is at least as important as concentric according to research.
If you just drop the weight, you’re missing half the opportunity that lifting weights provides.
This week, try this … focus on a 1-2 second eccentric (lowering) time. This will ensure control of movement and create muscle building benefits that would otherwise be missed.
Don’t skip the release. Keep it slow and steady and reap the benefits.
As always, the research —