What is Eccentric Training?

Eccentric Training

adj., departing from the norm, not concentric, utilizing negative resistance for better client outcomes.

Eccentrics is a type of muscle contraction that occurs as the muscle fibers lengthen, such as when a weight is lowered through a range of motion, or when a person walks downhill.The contractile force generated by the muscle is weaker than an opposing force, which causes the muscle to stretch.

Also known as “negative” contraction, eccentric muscle work provides unique responses and benefits compared to conventional exercise:

• Muscles resist force rather than produce it, requiring 80% less oxygen compared to concentric work.

• Low perceived exertion, so clients comfortably produce higher force output than in traditional concentric exercise.

• Body can resist 30-40% more weight eccentrically than it can push concentrically.

• Eccentric training helps enhance concentric abilities.

• Eccentric training promotes muscle growth and strength.

• High load eccentrics deliver proven benefits, including faster responses and greater workloads.

• Specificity of exercise, from ADLs to sports performance, offers a means to training for functional activities, including descending stairs, lowering loads, jumping, deceleration,etc.

Eccentric training builds up type II (fasttwitch) muscle fibers, for:

• Enhanced overall athletic performance –power, “spring quality,” reaction, agility.

• Improved stability in stair descent and standing balance.

• Increased functional control and performance in activities of daily living.

Building Stronger Bones

Resistance Exercise and Bone Turnover in Elderly Men and Women:

This study showed that resistance training was successful for improving bone mineral density in the elderly, and that the bone improvements occurred in direct proportion to the intensity of the muscular work.


Strength training increases regional bone mineral density and bone remodeling in middle-aged and older men:

In this study, resistance training increased the Bone Mineral Density of untrained men. After just 12 weeks, their serum levels of osteocalcin had increased by an average of 19%.


Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between muscular strength and bone density in elderly women:

Forty-four women performed resistance training for one year. They made clinically significant improvements in strength, and their bone mineral

density improved in direct proportion to their muscular gains.


Bone mass in the calcaneus after heavy loaded eccentric calf-muscle training in recreational athletes with chronic achilles tendinosis.

Heavy-loaded eccentric calf-muscle training resulted in a fast recovery in all patients after achilles surgery.


Rehabbing Ligaments and Tendons

Effects of early progressive eccentric exercise on muscle structure after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Eccentric resistance training implemented three weeks after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament can induce structural changes in the

quadriceps and gluteus maximus that greatly exceed those achieved with a standard rehabilitation protocol. The success of this intervention can be attributed to the gradual and progressive exposure to negative work through eccentric exercise, ultimately leading to production of high muscle force.


An Eccentrically Biased Rehabilitation Program Early After TKA Surgery

An eccentrically-biased rehabilitation program early after total knee arthroplasty contributed to changes in physical function to norm-based levels.


Effects of Early Progressive Eccentric Exercise on Muscle Structure After Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction:

This study shows that eccentric eccentric resistance training used after an ACL reconstruction can achieve much greater structural changes to the joint and surrounding muscles in comparison to standard rehabilitation.


The Use of Eccentrically Biased Resistance Exercise to Mitigate Muscle Impairments Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction:

A Short Review:  A 12-week eccentric resistance training program 3 weeks after ACL reconstruction safely and dramatically improves quadriceps and gluteus maximus volume strength, and hopping ability in comparison to traditional rehabilitation.


Improving Muscular Strength

Adaptive responses to muscle lengthening and shortening in humans:

In this study of eccentric-only vs. concentric-only, the eccentric-only group had 3.5 times the strength gains and 10 times the fast-twitch muscle fiber

area increase than the concentric-only group in twelve weeks.


Influence of Eccentric Actions on Skeletal Muscle Adaptations to Resistance Training This study showed that eccentric contractions are a requirement

for optimal muscle growth from resistance exercise.


Importance of Eccentric Actions in Performance Adaptations to Resistance Training:

In this study, the group that did both concentric AND eccentric contractions saw strength gains that were 73% GREATER in nineteen weeks than the group that did only concentric contractions, even though the concentric-only group did twice as many sets per workout.


Effects of Eccentric and Concentric Muscle Actions in Resistance Training:

In this study, the group that did both concentric AND eccentric contractions had almost double the strength increases, vertical jump improvements,

and three-repetition max increases over twelve weeks than the group that did only concentric contractions.


Effects of Eccentric and Concentric Muscle Actionsin Resistance Training:

In this study, the group that did both concentric AND eccentric contractions had almost double the strength increases, vertical jump improvements,

and three-repetition max increases over twelve weeks than the group that did only concentric contractions.



Extending Quality of Life

Association between muscular strength and mortality in men:

Prospective cohort study Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all



Aging, Functional Capacity and Eccentric Exercise Training:

This review identifies the loss of muscle mass and strength as the primary cause of frailty, limited function, quality of life, and life expectancy in the

65+ population. Safe eccentric contractions with the combination of high muscular force production and low energy costs are highlighted as a tool that can reverse the physical debilities associated with aging.


The Positive Effects of Negative Work:

Increased Muscle Strength and Decreased Fall Risk in a Frail Elderly Population:

This study was able to show improvement in balance, stability, and fall risk aversion in elderly population after using eccentric training.

Because eccentric training allows for greater force production, while minimizing concentric and cardiovascular force, this type of training is ideal for this population.


Lifestyle change and the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia: what is the evidence?

Introduction of physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in old age.


Optimizing Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health

Resistance training, insulin sensitivity and muscle function in the elderly.

This review discusses the evidence supporting the fact that resistance training can not only improve strength in the elderly, but also improve blood sugar control and dramatically decrease their risks of falls and fractures.


Effects of Exercise Training in the Elderly:

Impact of Progressive Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle and Whole-Body Protein Metabolism:

This review examines the evidence supporting the fact that the best possible exercise to slow the aging process is resistance exercise. Strength training rebuilds lost muscle, restores lost strength, and renews lost vitality. Even the elderly,unable to perform any “aerobic” training, were able to improve their insulin response, enhance their bone density, increase their cardiorespiratory capacity, and lower their levels of inflammation using only resistance exercise.


Growth hormone and testosterone interact positively to enhance protein and energy metabolism in hypopituitary men:

This study shows the impact of GH and testosterone and it’s benefits to metabolism and muscle growth.


Strength Training Early After Myocardial Infarction:

This study showed that resistance exercise, when compared with “aerobic” exercise, is completely safe even for middle-aged men who have just had heart attacks. In fact, 30 of the 42 men in the aerobic group suffered further heart problems during the study, while only one of the resistance training group experienced similar problems.


Comparison of Combined Aerobic and High-Force Eccentric Resistance Exercise with Aerobic Exercise Only for People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus:

While minimizing cardiovascular energy cost, eccentric training can still maximize lean muscle gain.


The scientific evidence is clear, now it’s about taking action!

Come and try the best tool available to explore the eccentric training at it’s finest – ARX Adaptive Resistance Exercise

at Intense Health clinic.

Apply NOW for you FREE consultation and workout trial!


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.