Improving your power with deceleration (eccentric) training will make your workouts more efficient and burn more body fat in the process. It will eventually enable you to do strength exercises more explosively, jump higher at a quicker rate and accelerate faster during interval cardio sessions. You will be able to do more work in less time.
Strong eccentric contractions are critical for you to produce maximal power (how fast your muscles produce force) since all force production (concentric) must be preceded by force reduction (eccentric).
These 6 tips will help build eccentric contraction strength and improve your workout and fat burning results:
1. Eccentric muscle contraction weight training. First, you should strength train your muscles with all contraction types (eccentric, isometric, concentric). All muscles function eccentrically (reduces force or deceleration), isometrically (stabilizes force) and concentrically (produces force).
Eccentric contractions are able to produce the most tension development followed by isometric contractions and lastly, concentric contractions. You should devote time during training for eccentric contractions.
Eccentric contraction training of muscles can significantly reduce your injury risks. Injury risks like torn ACL knee ligaments, achilles tendon strains/tears and hamstring injuries can be lessened.
Eccentric muscle contraction weight training is the lowering phase (force reduction) of a lift.
For example, you would lift the weight (concentric or force production) for a hamstring curl for one count and lower the weight for 3-4 counts. For bench press, lift the weight for 1 count and lower the weight for 3-4 counts.
2. Plyometric exercises are great fat burners. Plyometric exercises always follow the same order: a landing phase, an amortization phase and the take off.
The landing phase starts when the muscles start an eccentric contraction. The rapid eccentric contraction stretches the elastic component of the muscle and activates the stretch reflex. A high level of eccentric strength is needed during the landing phase. Inadequate strength will result in a slow rate of stretch and less activation of the stretch reflex.
The amortization phase, or the time on the ground, is the most important part of a plyometric exercise. It represents the time between the landing and the take off and is critical for power development. If the amortization phase is too long, the stretch reflex is lost and there is no plyometric effect.
The take off is the concentric contraction that follows the landing. During this phase the stored elastic energy is used to increase jump height and explosive power.
3. Running downhill. More stress is placed on your muscles even though running downhill is easier than running on flat ground or inclines. That’s because when you run downhill your muscles are trying to contract (shorten concentrically) at the same time they are lengthening (working eccentrically). Don’t overdue downhill or uphill running to prevent injuries.
4. Depth jumps from a platform (emphasize the landing and hold only). The depth jump is an exercise that will improve your speed, power and athleticism because it works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles.
5. Improving your muscular balance. For example, your quadricep muscles should not be significantly stronger than your hamstring muscles. Your frontside should not be significantly stronger than your backside. And, your left side should not be significantly stronger than your right side.
One-legged and one-armed exercises help you to maintain muscular balance.
6. Range of motion should not be restricted. Do exercises with a full range of motion unless you are in rehabilitation. Rehab exercises are done to restore your full range of motion.
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