More on Eccentric Workouts Versus Concentric Muscle Loading

I’ve long rec­om­mend­ed work­ing out your mus­cles eccen­tri­cal­ly (doing neg­a­tive work) in rehab­bing from a mus­cle or ten­don injury.  Briefly, eccen­tric con­trac­tion means focus­ing on low­er­ing the weight slow­ly instead of on lift­ing it. (Check out “mus­cle injury recov­ery and eccen­tric work­outs” if you need a review.)

But eccen­tric load­ing of a mus­cle does cre­ate more stress on the ten­don.  Some experts wor­ry that, if done inju­di­cious­ly, eccen­tric exer­cise can lead to injury.

Now researchers have stud­ied the risk for mus­cle injury with eccen­tric con­trac­tions com­pared to con­cen­tric con­trac­tions.  Instead of wait­ing for ath­letes to injure their mus­cles,  the sci­en­tists test­ed the sub­jects’ urine for the meta­bol­ic break­down prod­ucts that are a sign of mus­cle dam­age.

If sub­jects tried a sin­gle exer­cise ses­sion at which they maxed out their eccen­tric load – going for the heav­i­est weight stack they could man­age right from the get-go – there was an increased lev­el of mus­cle break­down, poten­tial­ly indi­cat­ing a high­er risk for injury.

But if the sub­jects built up their exer­cise capac­i­ty, begin­ning with 70 – 80% of their max­i­mal load and pro­gress­ing upward from there, the strength gains from eccen­tric load­ing out­stripped those from con­cen­tric load­ing, with no increased risk of mus­cle injury.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Ten­donitis symp­toms and eccen­tric work­outs



About Aaron Bynen

Aaron is a health conscious individual living in the Pacific Northwest.
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