Whenever you do weight lifting or strength training, it can be broken down into three portions: concentric, isometric, and eccentric movements. To understand what each means, remember that the portion called concentric occurs when muscles contract; the isometric portion is when the muscle is not moving at all; and the eccentric portion is when the muscle lengthens.
However, of the three moves, the one that likely gets overlooked and probably done incorrectly, is the eccentric movement. There are important benefits you can gain when doing the eccentric movement of a strength training move correctly that’s critical to your long-term health.
Here’s a brief look explaining what each move entails:
All of us know of someone who was in relatively good health but then falls, breaking a hip, yet is unable to recover fully. Within a year or two, the person’s health and quality of life goes downhill quickly.
One of the leading causes of death in developed countries is accidental deaths. Falls and other types of accidents are difficult to anticipate but you can take steps to minimize their occurrence, and to make the accident less severe if and when they happen. One of the best moves you can do is to focus on eccentric moves.
Since eccentric movement was defined earlier in this article, it’s important to understand that this move is considered more challenging as it attempts to slow the speed or cadence of an eccentric move. By doing this move very slowly, it trains your muscles to act more like shock absorbers by braking against gravity helping to prevent falls and injuries. For example, if you are hiking going down a steep hill, you want good eccentric strength of your knees allowing you to maintain control preventing you from falling forward and tumbling down. The same thing can be said when going down a flight of stairs. Another good example of eccentric movement/strength is being able to lower a child from your arms to the floor or sitting down in a chair without collapsing. A key component of muscular control is the ability to lengthen your muscles when under tension.
So, eccentric strength helps you not only avoid injuries but also supports strong explosive movements when playing soccer, sprinting, basketball, and volleyball. In addition, eccentric moves can strengthen the body’s connective tissue to improve if rehabbing for aches and pains.
How to work on eccentric strength
To boost your eccentric strength, it takes a concerted effort to focus on this move. Here are three simple, yet very effective moves to excel your eccentric strength:
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.