Eccentric Training


Does eccentric training favor strength or size gains? My research concludes both but would like to have your input please.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken

Eccentric training or negative training is a great way to increase strength and size.

The catch is, all forms of weight training favor an increase in size and strength if performed properly in addition to proper rest and diet.

As with all different styles of training, your lifting must be consistent with your goals.

Since your body can handle a heavier load during the eccentric phase of an exercise, eccentric training is the best way to increase strength. Will it increase just eccentric strength or overall strength?

This depends on the way you train eccentrically.

If you use heavier weights than you can handle concentrically (positive part of the motion, lifting against gravity) you will definitely cause your body to increase strength.

If your eccentric training consists of using weights of moderate intensity (less than 80% 1RM) you will most likely not increase strength.

If this is the style of lifting you do, it could be the best way to increase muscle mass. Remember, to increase muscle mass along with a hyper-caloric diet, you need high training volume.

The lifting phase is insignificant to the time under tension. With regards to training volume and hypertrophy of muscle, a 1 minute set is a 1 minute set. You can read about it on the weight training volume page.

The bottom line is, if eccentric strength is what your goals is, focus on it. If overall muscle development is your primary goal, focus on a balanced program using a variety of training modalities and have a diet, rest, and supplement regimen consistent with your goals.

It should be noted that heavy eccentric training has been associated with increased potential for injury. It is recommended that negatives only be performed once a week at the most.

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