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Eccentrics make you strong and huge

Ironslave

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I've bolded the important stuff, and offered comments where necessary.

Resistance training using eccentric overload induces early adaptations in skeletal muscle size. Norrbrand L, Fluckey JD, Pozzo M, Tesch PA
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Feb ; 102(3): 271-81.


Fifteen healthy men performed a 5-week training program comprising four sets of seven unilateral, coupled concentric-eccentric knee extensions 2-3 times weekly. While eight men were assigned to training using a weight stack (WS) machine, seven men trained using a flywheel (FW) device, which inherently provides variable resistance and allows for eccentric overload. The design of these apparatuses ensured similar knee extensor muscle use and range of motion. Before and after training, maximal isometric force (MVC) was measured in tasks non-specific to the training modes. Volume of all individual quadriceps muscles was determined by magnetic resonance imaging. Performance across the 12 exercise sessions was measured using the inherent features of the devices. Whereas MVC increased (P < 0.05) at all angles measured in FW, such a change was less consistent in WS. Translation, eccentric training can lead to greater strength

There was a marked increase (P < 0.05) in task-specific performance (i.e., load lifted) in WS. Average work showed a non-significant 8.7% increase in FW. Quadriceps muscle volume increased (P < 0.025) in both groups after training. Although the more than twofold greater hypertrophy evident in FW (6.2%) was not statistically greater than that shown in WS (3.0%), all four individual quadriceps muscles of FW showed increased (P < 0.025) volume whereas in WS only m. rectus femoris was increased (P < 0.025).
Eccentrics are better for muscle growth
Collectively the results of this study suggest more robust muscular adaptations following flywheel than weight stack resistance exercise supporting the idea that eccentric overload offers a potent stimuli essential to optimize the benefits of resistance exercise.
 
tim290280

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Adds to the other studies well!

Although the weightlifting studies done do show that "fast" concentric movement and non-exagerated eccentric movements are required for power. Also given the injury risks (mainly from poor form and overloading) and the increased DOMS; you do have to question the practical applicability for using them for any length of time.
 
Hypocrisy86

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IS this the same as negatives?
 
Ironslave

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Although the weightlifting studies done do show that "fast" concentric movement and non-exagerated eccentric movements are required for power. Also given the injury risks (mainly from poor form and overloading) and the increased DOMS; you do have to question the practical applicability for using them for any length of time.

Perhaps, but I'd disagree. I've written about this, I'll post it tomorrow, but there's evidence that eccentrics are actually great for preventing injury due to a shift towards the descending limb of the force-length relationship, I'll post it tomorrow.


Hypo, yes.
 
Hypocrisy86

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Perhaps, but I'd disagree. I've written about this, I'll post it tomorrow, but there's evidence that eccentrics are actually great for preventing injury due to a shift towards the descending limb of the force-length relationship, I'll post it tomorrow.


Hypo, yes.

90% of my workouts for all Body parts are negatives
hmm interesting.
thanks for posting this!
 
tim290280

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Perhaps, but I'd disagree. I've written about this, I'll post it tomorrow, but there's evidence that eccentrics are actually great for preventing injury due to a shift towards the descending limb of the force-length relationship, I'll post it tomorrow.
I don't disagree from that standpoint and look forward to the post. My main issue is with the practice of eccentrics and how form degradation is "manditory" in the way most prescribe it.

I'll dig up the review I read on it too. I put some of the ideas into my training and the eccentrics really worked well.
 
Ironslave

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My main issue is with the practice of eccentrics and how form degradation is "manditory" in the way most prescribe it.

No arguments with that, proper form is always mandatory.

Anyways, here are some highlights from a paper I wrote. I would agree that there is a risk-reward component for sure.


Due to varying characteristics between eccentric and concentric muscle actions, controversy exists about their role in both the causation and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. Initial hunches would perhaps reason that due to the higher tensile forces, eccentric muscle actions would be more likely to cause injury than concentric or isometric ones. To illustrate this point, research by Garrett and colleagues (1988) leading to development of a mathematical model for quantifying conditions necessary for muscular strain found that concentric activation alone was unable to produce muscle strain in the absence of stretch, rather, a force several times what could be generated from isometric muscle actions was needed. Indeed, there is certainly growing evidence that has implicated eccentric muscle actions in exercise induced muscle injury. For example, rupture of the pectoralis major muscle is a common injury in competitive athletes and weightlifters performing a bench press, as this movement exposes the muscle to very high loads in an abducted, eccentric position (Potter et al., 2006). Furthermore, research has shown that the short, interior fibers of the pectoralis major muscle stretch disproportionately during the final 30 degrees of the eccentric portion of the lift, increasing susceptibility to injury (Wolfe et al., 1992). Even more problematic could be that tension during eccentric contractions is taken up by the weakest sarcomeres, which lengthen to the point of no myofilament overlap and disrupt them to the point where they do not immediately realign (Talbot and Morgan, 1996). Muscle architectural design is typically characterized with the weakest, most obliquely oriented fibers placed near the point of the musculotendinous junction, increasing the likelihood of injury in this area as opposed to the muscle belly (Newham et al., 1983). Heavy weight lifting is not the only time eccentric induced muscle injuries can occur. For example, a more common exercise to the general population which has a significant eccentric component is the landing portion of jogging. As such, eccentric contractions have been mentioned as a contributing factor to several running induced injuries. One example of this would be tears to the hamstring, which have been shown to occur more frequently during the eccentric landing both empirically (think of sprinters and horses during a race) and clinically as well (Brockett et al., 2001).
On the other hand, a growing body of evidence exists demonstrating that eccentric exercise may serve purpose in the prevention of musculoskeletal injury. Though eccentric muscle actions have been shown to lead to substantial muscle damage and cases of injury, they may also lead to formation of various protective adaptations against injury. Such mechanisms include the elimination of weak areas of certain muscle fibers following an initial exercise bout, changes in the recruitment of motor units with subsequent exposures to eccentric contractions, and the formation of a more resilient muscle structure (Stauber, 1989). For example, a group of some of the leading scientists studying the field of eccentric muscle action induced injury (Proske et al., 2004) found that subjects who experience muscle damage from unaccustomed eccentric contractions will experience much less muscle damage in repeating the same exercise one week later due to development of protective adaptations. The authors propose that this “repeated bout effect” of progressive eccentric contractions occurs in part due to sarcomere addition, which would mean average sarcomere length for a given fiber lessens, serving as a mechanism to explain the shift to longer muscle lengths in the optimal force-length relationship of trained athletes (Butterfield and Herzog, 2004). Seeing as the descending limb of the length–tension curve for skeletal muscle is a region of instability, a muscle adapted to eccentric contractions would be less likely to be stretched, within a normal working range of motion, onto its descending limb (Proske et al., 2004). Thus, for athletes such as runners who are likely to experience eccentric induced muscle damage, forced eccentric contractions of the hamstrings and calves would likely prevent muscular injury during their sport. Indeed, empirical evidence reported by Brockett and colleagues (see Proske et al., 2004) from training programs they developed for professional football teams in the Australian Football League that contain significant eccentric muscle action components seem promising in reducing the risk of injury during sport. Though it is impossible to control all factors which may account for injury experienced during an athletic competition in a rough sport such as Australian football, their reports that 16 cases of hamstring injury occurred in 2001, the year before they began working with the club, compared with 5 cases of hamstring injury in 2002 and only 2 cases in 2003 are certainly noteworthy.
 
BigBen

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IS,

whenever i do negatives i always get super strong on the negative, and i do get bigger(which is the whole point for me anyways) but i dont notice a big difference in my positive strength, but i think i am going to add these back into my workout.

How long of a cycle of these would u suggest doing?

Thank you
 
Ironslave

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IS,

whenever i do negatives i always get super strong on the negative, and i do get bigger(which is the whole point for me anyways) but i dont notice a big difference in my positive strength, but i think i am going to add these back into my workout.

How long of a cycle of these would u suggest doing?

Thank you

It should provide both size and strength. There is certainly a neural component to concentric actions, but the increased cross sectional area (size) from eccentrics should also allow force.

It depends, as I mentioned, there is a risk reward. Probably the same as any other method of training, give it a go and use some heavy eccentrics on certain exercises (with a spotter, of course) at the end of the set. ie, a couple sets of bench press, taking maybe 90% of your 1RM and doing 5 slow, controlled negatives. Do this for around 3 weeks, then take a little break off it, and repeat.

But I must mention, it is VERY important that you are flexible. Before you start doing these, I would make a conscious effort to spend a few weeks and really work on muscle flexibility (you should be doing this anyways). But, don't static stretch the muscle before the workout.

Summary:

begin by training as you normally are, but at the end of a workout (say, a chest/tricep workout), work on your chest/tricep flexibility, and progress to the point of doing some weighted stretches (but not so heavy that it is painful).

- Then, do the eccentrics as I recommended above.
 
tim290280

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From what you are saying in that the eccentric ties in nicely with plyometrics.

I read something awhile ago about sprinters disposition to hamstring injury being related to deccelaration of the limb during the non-contact phase of the stride. This is eccentric motion but not contact motion where force is being offset in the foot strike. Having personally experienced this and seen it in athletes, all of whom use plyometrics, all of whom have eccentric weight training (deliberately focussed, or incidental), it begs the question of what level of protection eccentric training can give to injury.
 
Ironslave

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Plyometrics do have a major eccentric component, yeah, but that's more of a reflexive eccentric, not something like a controlled negative. It's kinda like the difference between throwing a baseball and a shot put... both are concentric movements, but very different ones.

Im not sure I see what you're referring to with regards to the running motion and application of eccentrics to injury. The deceleration of the limb occurs towards the end of the swing phase, as contact is about to be made, yes, that is correct, but I'd argue that injury is most likely to occur during the landing, which is the very end of the swing phase, not while the landing is about to occur. During this phase, along with the limb, the rate of hamstring eccentric action also slows, yet the tendon forcibly lengthens (1). Typically, injuries like this are likely to occur with golgi tendon induced inhibition of the muscles, while stress is absorbed by the connective tissue, which is unable to handle the load.

Regardless, I'd argue that for example, a movement such as a controlled eccentric glute-ham raise motion would be excellent for prevention of hamstring strain in athletes, due to what I wrote above (starting at "on the other hand). I'd also mention that since there would be a shift toward the descending limb of the force length relationship (note, "descending limb" doesn't refer to limbs on the body), there'd also be less chance of GTO inhibition of muscle action and stress on the connective tissue. I havent looked this up before, but it's an educated guess that makes sense to me at least.


1) Simulation of biceps femoris musculotendon mechanics during the swing phase of sprinting.
Thelen DG, Chumanov ES, Best TM, Swanson SC, Heiderscheit BC
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Nov ; 37(11): 1931-8
 
tim290280

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I have to admit I can't remember the research mentioned pre-foot strike or post-foot strike. My personal situation though was pre-strike, but point taken.

I do agree that glute-ham raises whether done as an eccentric (especially natural ones) or just as a regular exercise are invaluable. But as you point out it is that the tendon lengthens while under eccentric action, so mobility/flexibility issues play a part as well.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2006 Feb;16(1):7-13.
Predictors of hamstring injury at the elite level of Australian football.
Gabbe BJ, Bennell KL, Finch CF, Wajswelner H, Orchard JW.
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. belinda.gabbe@med.monash.edu.au

BACKGROUND: Hamstring injuries are the most common injury sustained by elite Australian football players and result in substantial costs because of missed training time, unavailability for matches and lost player payments. Evidence to support proposed risk factors for hamstring injury is generally lacking, limiting the development of appropriate prevention strategies. AIM: To identify intrinsic risk factors for hamstring injury at the elite level of Australian football. METHODS: A prospective cohort of 222 players underwent baseline measurement in the form of a self-report questionnaire and a musculo-skeletal screen during the pre-season period of the 2002 Australian football season. Injury surveillance and exposure data were collected for the full season. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify independent predictors of hamstring injury in this group of players. RESULTS: Thirty-one players sustained a hamstring injury. A past history (previous 12 months) of hamstring injury and increasing age were found to be independent predictors of hamstring injury. CONCLUSIONS: Older players and those with a previous history of hamstring injury are target groups for further research and implementation of injury prevention strategies. Restricted ankle dorsiflexion range of movement warrants consideration in the development of prevention programs for hamstring injury.
and similar again:
J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Aug;9(4):327-33. Epub 2006 May 4.
Why are older Australian football players at greater risk of hamstring injury?
Gabbe BJ, Bennell KL, Finch CF.
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Rd., Melbourne, Vict. 3004, Australia. belinda.gabbe@med.monash.edu.au

INTRODUCTION: Increasing age is a commonly identified predictor of hamstring injury but is not modifiable to reduce injury risk. Why increasing age is a risk factor for hamstring injuries in athletes has not been studied to date. This study aimed to identify potentially modifiable age-related changes that predict hamstring injury in a population of Australian football players. METHODS: One hundred and one young (< or =20 years), and 73 older (> or =25 years), Australian football players, without a history of hamstring injury in the past 12 months were studied prospectively. Players underwent screening of anthropometric, flexibility and lower extremity range of movement tests during the pre-season period and were followed-up for a full season with respect to injury and match participation. Comparisons of the age groups were performed to identify differences related to age. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken to determine whether the observed differences were predictors of hamstring injury. RESULTS: There were significant differences between the age groups with respect to body weight, body mass index, hip flexor flexibility, hip internal rotation and ankle dorsiflexion range of movement. Body weight and hip flexor flexibility were significant independent predictors of hamstring injury in players aged > or =25 years. None of the observed differences were predictors of injury in the younger age group. CONCLUSIONS: There are age-related changes that are potentially modifiable to reduce injury risk in older athletes and these factors should be considered in the development of hamstring injury prevention programs for this high risk group.
There was another study done recently on injury prevention (soft tissue and knee and ankle) where they identified at risk soccer players; unfortuneately the players didn't adhere to the program. So while they could identify why they couldn't prove the modified training (although promising) would prevent injury.
 
Zigurd

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How do you train eccentrics ? Somebody explain, I have never heard about this before.
 
tim290280

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Eccentric = lowering phase of lift
 
philosopher

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It should provide both size and strength. There is certainly a neural component to concentric actions, but the increased cross sectional area (size) from eccentrics should also allow force.

It depends, as I mentioned, there is a risk reward. Probably the same as any other method of training, give it a go and use some heavy eccentrics on certain exercises (with a spotter, of course) at the end of the set. ie, a couple sets of bench press, taking maybe 90% of your 1RM and doing 5 slow, controlled negatives. Do this for around 3 weeks, then take a little break off it, and repeat.

But I must mention, it is VERY important that you are flexible. Before you start doing these, I would make a conscious effort to spend a few weeks and really work on muscle flexibility (you should be doing this anyways). But, don't static stretch the muscle before the workout.

Summary:

begin by training as you normally are, but at the end of a workout (say, a chest/tricep workout), work on your chest/tricep flexibility, and progress to the point of doing some weighted stretches (but not so heavy that it is painful).

- Then, do the eccentrics as I recommended above.


Why do you have to be flexible to do negatives..?
 
Ironslave

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I do agree that glute-ham raises whether done as an eccentric (especially natural ones) or just as a regular exercise are invaluable. But as you point out it is that the tendon lengthens while under eccentric action, so mobility/flexibility issues play a part as well.

I'd agree for sure (hence, my flexibility training recommendations), this is getting off track and is a whole other thread topic tho. But the most rapid/forceful lengthening is the eccentric contact with the ground while running.
 
Hypocrisy86

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interesting, didn't know being flexible would play a good part with negatives/eccentrics.
crap.. no wonder why my arms hurt. ..
 
Ironslave

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interesting, didn't know being flexible would play a good part with negatives/eccentrics.
crap.. no wonder why my arms hurt. ..

Being flexible will make you stronger with pretty well any part of lifting weights. Don't stretch before workouts.... but you should after.
 

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