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Eccentric Exercises

Eccentric Exercises

By John Borkenhagen, Personal Trainer

Why do we do eccentric exercises?

One of the many fitness goals that clients come to me with is the desire to prevent injuries, especially among my older clientele.  In order to prevent an injury, we need to understand how injuries occur. Most injuries typically occur when we are in an eccentric time deficit.  Basically, what that means is that if a muscle cannot contract fast or strong enough to resist the lengthening force placed on it a rupture of that tendon can occur.

Now that we’ve narrowed down the movement segment that is most responsible for injury, we can train that segment more efficiently. The eccentric based exercises, more commonly known as the negative, is characterized by an overload during the lengthening part of the movement and an assistance during the muscle shortening part of the movement.

Benefits to building resistance to injury can include much greater results in the lengthening and strengthening of your muscles which will lead to greater extension. This will also improve your coordination during eccentric tasks of daily life.  

At the end of the day, it all circles back to the main reason we train and that is to improve our overall quality of life.  For that reason, a lot of the exercises I most commonly program mimic activities of daily living. The two most important being the squat and the hinge. One of my favorite variations of the squat is using chains. This is an example of a concept called accommodating resistance where the chains are hung on the ends of a barbell.  The chains provide additional resistance at the top and less as the chains gather on the ground during the descent which makes for a great way to overload that negative. Another great eccentric exercise is the Romanian Deadlift. If done correctly, this can help with alleviating back pain when bending over to pick something up. With more practice of these exercises we can start to develop a better mind muscle connection to help us go about our daily activities with confidence the way we should!

Interested in learning more? Contact John or one of our other great Personal Trainers to figure out how eccentric exercises could benefit you.

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