Concentric vs. Eccentric Movements

Tricep Kickback Eccentric Exercise

When you are lifting weights, you are often performing concentric and eccentric movements. Concentric refers to the contraction of the muscle and is often the more difficult part of the contraction. Eccentric is the lengthening of the muscle. Both of these are important in the gym, but their benefits are different from each other. Here are the benefits of each as well as techniques to take full advantage of both.

Eccentric Movements

Most people are stronger in the eccentric direction. Additionally, eccentric movements are where you will build more size. Because of this you can increase the amount of muscle you build if you add some eccentric-focused training. If you have a lifting partner, they can help you take advantage of this strength.

Using Heavier Weight

Here you want to use weight heavier than you can lift normally. You can either swing the weight up if you’re by yourself and doing something like bicep curl, or have your partner help you move the weight in the concentric direction. Then you are going to move the weight slow and controlled in the eccentric direction.

Going Past Failure

When lifting with a partner, going to failure doesn’t mean you have to stop. After you have reached failure do 2-3 negatives where they do as much of the concentric part of the reps. Try to do as much of the eccentric as possible here. This technique will increase muscle fatigue substantially so do this as a finisher towards the end of the workout.

Concentric Movements

The Concentric is the meat and potatoes of almost all workout routines. The concentric is where you are going to build strength. You are probably already making good use of this, but there are still some more things you can do.

Focusing on the Contraction

As you are contracting the muscle, it can be beneficial to focus on the contraction. Visualize the muscle being contracted and feel into what the muscle fibers feel like as they contract.