By Susan Howard
Recently I returned from a fitness conference where I took several courses and workouts from some of the top minds in fitness, the P90X guy (Tony Horton) to the Gatorade research folks, to the industry leaders in kinesology and body testing.
One presenter that had a big impact on me was this quirky guy from the University of New Mexico (of course) talking about eccentric movement.
What is eccentric movement and why do I care about it?
Eccentric is the opposite of concentric, so in a bicep curl the concentric is the “up” movement when you contract the muscle and the eccentric is when you elongate it towards the pull of gravity.
I signed up for the class to learn more because, contrary to conventional wisdom, the contraction part of a move is not nearly as important as the eccentric part and I wanted to know more.
Here’s what I got. You will garner 40 percent better results by focusing on the eccentric part. Forty percent!
We must trust this guy, Len Kravits (yes, that’s his name) who has done all of this research about muscle development at UNM. He as dedicated his entire career to learning about this stuff with electrodes and muscle stimulation and control groups. We have got to give it up to him.
How can you get in on the action?
An easy example is to slow your counting on the “down” part of an exercise. For example, for a chest press you would count down 3 seconds and up one second, thereby allowing the eccentric to be slow and the concentric to be a quick burst. This, says Len, is the optimum way to get the benefits of eccentric motion.
So get moving.
And get results.
40 percent more.