The Power of Eccentrics

No, no, not an eccentric personality- though many of them can be quite powerful people, I mean eccentric training.  Using eccentric tempos while doing strength training is a key player in building up strength and injury resiliency.  


The eccentric phase of contraction breaks down muscle fibers far more than the concentric phase or isometric phase.  This is the phase of movement when you are lowering a load.  Think of the sitting down portion of a squat or straightening your arm after doing a curl.  

When you focus your training on the eccentric phase of the contraction, you stress the muscle, and tendon, a lot more than if you just did the regular up and down.  

And yes, you end up pretty sore from this.

When you stress and break down the muscles and tendons enough, they grow back stronger and more durable.  This is what we do when training: defeat your body’s current capabilities and then it grows to not be defeated so easily.  Do this often over enough time and you end up strong & durable.  Note that muscles improve much faster than tendons when it comes to long term change.  

When your muscles and tendons increase in their strength, they are less likely to be subject to strains (not completely prevented from them) and can handle more volume before failure.  The stronger you get, the more training you can handle, and the more intensely you can tolerate the training.  

And since it breaks your muscles down so much, it’s one of the best ways to drastically increase your overall strength if your goal is simply to get super strong.  

It can also help greatly with improving the tone and look of your muscles!

So, how can you incorporate this into your training routine?

Take a look at your training plan for tomorrow.  Take the first 3-5 strength exercises you plan to do, and then make a note to go slowly into the movement for 3-6 seconds each repetition.  Note that some exercises you may have to change: like KB Swings.

For example, if you were going to do a front squat, bench press, and pull ups, you can simply make the eccentric phase for each of those exercises take 5 seconds.  This dramatically increases your time under tension, the key factor when it comes to improvement.

You’ll likely need to lower the weight you will use because often most reps/sets will take 2-3x longer than before.  Depending on the type of training effect you are training overall, you may also need to lower the rep count per set.

Doing eccentric exercises can be very tough.  It requires some grit to make a 20 second set of 10 squats turn into a 60 second set of 10 squats because you added time.  The sets are rough and you walk about feeling like you really went to battle.  Gotta have the right mindset to push yourself through an eccentric workout.

Share this with a training buddy or athlete you know!

And speaking of mindset, if you are looking to improve your mindset as it relates to competing and training, take a listen to my newest podcast episode of Training Well Done: 4 Keys of a Mindful Athlete.  I interviewed our very own Coach Khyla to learn about her 4 keys of mindset.  

Listen Here

And if you’re really ready to step it up, take advantage of our “Power Your Mind” camp Coach Khyla is hosting that I will be assisting with.  It is a 4 hour personal intensive to help you grow your mental toughness and do a better job on focusing on what you need to with in your sport.

It’s Saturday July 10th starting at 10:30am.

Sign Up Here

Happy training my friends

Global Human Performance
Global Human Performance

Life Changing Fitness

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