Types of Muscle Contraction

Muscle contraction is essential for the proper functioning of your muscles. When you run, the movement is made possible by the contraction of some of your leg muscles. The same is true of your arm muscles when you do pushups. Such contractions are involved anytime you exercise and challenge your muscles, a process that causes them to tear and rebuild to become stronger than they were previously.

There are three types of muscle contraction;

1.     Concentric

2.     Eccentric

3.     Isometric

The following is a more detailed description of each:

Concentric Contraction

During this type of contraction, your muscles produce force and energy as they tighten and shorten. The shortening of the muscle results in a change in the angle of the joint it controls. For instance, when you extend your arm straight, then bend your elbow so your hand approaches your body, you’re using concentric contraction. This kind of activity is very common and easy to do, and you do it often naturally.

Examples of Concentric Contraction Exercises

  • Bicep curl
  • Bending your hands inward at the wrist
  • Knee raises

Eccentric Contraction

While concentric contractions shorten the muscles, this type of contraction extends or expands a muscle to produce force. This causes a joint to extent outwards. For instance, when you bend your arm and then extend it so that your hand (or whatever limb is being used) moves further away from your body, you’re utilizing eccentric contraction.

Examples of Eccentric Contraction Exercises

  • Push ups
  • Leg extensions
  • Squats

Isometric Contraction

Although the previous two types of contractions produce power through motion, isometric contraction is a type that creates power without movement. During this contraction, force is created even though your muscles aren’t moving. This occurs by a static holding of something (your body or an object), or by pushing against an immobile force. For instance, when you hold a cup of coffee or push yourself against a wall, you’re using isometric contraction of your muscles.

Examples of Isometric Contraction Exercises

  • Static holds in yoga
  • Pushing against a wall
  • Pulling a weight up on a pull up bar with a force that balances the weight, so you’re not actually moving your body



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