Fitness

Eccentric Exercise

What is eccentric exercise?

Eccentric exercise occurs when you body struggles to maintain a position during an exercise. You push against physics and gravity and are eventually likely to fail at completing the exercise. However, not being able to complete exercises is somewhat expected and can even be a good thing. The goal is usually to hold the position as long as possible. This is usable for all kinds of fitness goals, but is probably most common in various kinds of gymnastics.

Uses of eccentric exerciseEccentric Exercises

  • Beneficial for those with weaker joints, based on the fact it is extremely low impact
  • Builds muscular strength and endurance
  • Eccentric exercise is also often used to help treat arthritis and tendinitis
  • It’s good for muscular rehab for people who are recovering from injury

Examples of eccentric exercise

There are many actions you can take that perform eccentric exercise. Here are a few examples

    • Many yoga holds and stretches involve eccentric exercise
    • Ballet involves many eccentric positions
    • Trying to hold your arm out beside your while someone tries to push it down is eccentric exercise
    • The eccentric pushup: start in the normal pushup position on your toes with your arms extended, then lower yourself to the ground as slowly as possible. Once you are on the ground, bend your knees and back and move back into the original position. Repeat as desired. This is especially good practice for people who are currently unable to do even one normal pushup
    • The eccentric pull up: start with your chin above the pull-up bar. Then lower yourself down as slowly as possible until your arms are fully extended. Repeat as desired.

Eccentric exercise safety tips

  • Always warm up and stretch before exercise of any kind including eccentric exercises
  • When being eccentric exercise start with beginner exercises and work your way to advanced.
  • Try to hold your eccentric contractions at least 5 seconds.
  • Always cool down after your workout.

Resources:

Current Orthopaedic Practice: Eccentric Exercise in Chronic Tendinitis

International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy: The Role and Implentation of Eccentric Training in Athletic Rehabilitation

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