WEEK OF DECEMBER 23, 2013
COACHES NOTES: This week we are doing 3 sets of 8 reps with really slowing down our movements, both eccentric phase (lengthening of muscle) and concentric phase (shortening of muscle). In studies that have compared eccentric-only and concentric-only training, eccentric-only is far superior for producing muscle damage and hypertrophy. This is because the eccentric motion damages the myofibers and it preferentially recruits fast-twitch fibers. This means there is a greater amount of stress per motor unit with eccentric exercises, producing greater muscle growth. Another difference between eccentric and concentric motions is that the eccentric part of a lift requires less energy (or ATP) to complete. This is important because it means you can perform more work eccentrically, which has implications for body composition, strength, and size gains. But, a lot of people don’t realize that manipulating the use of energy and ATP breakdown is an important component of maximal muscle growth. Eccentric training is well known for strengthening tendons. Just like eccentric training is a stimulus for muscle growth, it also rebuilds tendon tissue. It is commonly used to rehabilitate ruptured tendons, but including eccentric training in your program can help you prevent such a debilitating injury. Eccentric training has been shown to be one of the very best methods for increasing flexibility. It’s much more effective than static stretching, and a new analysis found that eccentrics can increase hip range-of-motion by an average of 22 percent. Range-of-motion in all joints measured was found to increase by at least 13 degrees.
It works because the eccentric motion causes muscle fiber growth, increasing the sarcomeres in series within a muscle, meaning the muscle becomes longer and you get more flexible! Just about everyone wants to be more flexible, and the more technical lifts require a large degree of flexibility to perform them correctly.