i amIf you want to maximize your time at the gym, you might consider making Lil Jon’s “Get Low” your new strength-training anthem.
Let me explain. When we perform an exercise like a squat or bicep curl, there are two phases. There is the concentric phase, which is the part of the movement (or curl/lift), that involves muscle shortening. And the eccentric phase, which is about losing weight, and when the muscles lengthen.
When we think of building strong muscles, we usually focus on the lifting part and often consider lowering the weight back to the starting position so we can lift it again. But multiple studies have shown that concentric-concentric exercises produce more power than concentric, and more power than moves that contain equal parts concentric and concentric.
“Among fitness professionals, the benefits of increasing time on the eccentric portion of the lift (which will increase ‘time under tension’) are well known,” says Mark Bohannon, certified personal trainer and senior vice president of North American operations for Ultimate Performance. Eccentric training can help you break through strength plateaus and aid in rehabilitation programs, he says. “As a result, eccentric weight training is considered the foundation of any progressive strength-training program.”
Recently, more evidence has emerged about how impactful eccentric training can be, particularly in the area of skill. A 2022 study by researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia suggests that is being fixed three Sec An eccentric step five times a week for four weeks increased strength by 10 percent. A minute of exercise in a month!
In November, the same researchers performed a different study comparing concentric and concentric strength training and found that study participants who did concentric-eccentric moves produced half as much eccentric exercise as those who did the same amount of strength. What’s more, those who just did eccentric exercise increased their muscle thickness more than the other group.
One reason for this difference is that whereas eccentric exercise requires your muscles to fire, concentric exercises allow you to supplement strength with momentum. Eccentric exercise creates more micro-tears in your muscles, which helps the muscles grow as they repair themselves.
So how do you implement this knowledge into your workouts? Start playing with tempo. For example, in a bicep curl, raise the weight for one second, but lower it for three counts. You can apply the same formula to squats, sit-ups, and other concentric-eccentric moves.
“For example, by slowing down the eccentric part of a lift to three seconds, it will significantly challenge your muscles, which will force them to get bigger and force you to get stronger,” says Bohannon. It’s a pretty good reason to get low.