6 Eccentric Exercises to Add to Your Workout

Eccentric exercises help to build greater muscle mass and strength (Image via Pexels @Alteredsnaps)
Eccentric exercises help build greater muscle mass and strength (Image via Pexels/Alteredsnaps)

Eccentric exercises are specific workouts that benefit the muscles by loading them with heavy weights. Once the muscles have absorbed the required mechanical energy from the heavy load, a spring-like or elastic recoil facilitates the next muscle movement.

Basically, eccentric movements are those that lengthen a muscle when it's being contracted. That's believed to help build muscle size and strength. Maintaining the proper form in eccentric training is crucial, as it can make all the difference.

Below, we will discuss some eccentric exercise examples that are suitable for building muscle.

Here you can check out more diet and exercise tips on how to build muscle.


Eccentric Exercises to Add to your Workout

Check out the following six eccentric exercises you can add to your workout:

1) Eccentric Hamstring Curl

The first in our list of eccentric exercises is the hamstring curl. In this variation, you curl the weight with both legs, and slowly release it back to its starting position with a single leg. The exercise can be done in either seated or lying variation.

Instructions:

  • With the back of your calves resting against the pad, adopt a seated or lying hamstring curling position.
  • Choose a weight that's a little bit lighter than what you would typically use for leg curls.
  • By tightening your hamstrings till the pad touches the back of your upper thighs, curl the weight with both legs.
  • Remove a leg from the cushion. To benefit from the eccentric portion of the rep, slowly and steadily lower the weight with the other leg.
  • Lower the weight with the other leg on the subsequent rep, and continue for the required number of reps and sets.
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2) Eccentric Dumbbell Curl

This is one of the best eccentric exercises to trigger protein synthesis and muscle growth. The exercise can strengthen the tendons and promote the maintenance of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Instructions:

  • Choose a dumbbell that's a little lighter than the one you would typically use for a dumbbell curl.
  • Holding the dumbbells at your sides, simultaneously curl them both upward, pausing briefly at the top. You can also alternately curl up one arm at a time.
  • Slowly return the dumbbells to the starting position while feeling the biceps contract eccentrically.
  • For the desired number of reps and sets, repeat the movement.
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3) Eccentric Box Step-Down

This is one of those eccentric exercisesyou should definitely perform to strengthen the knees. The quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves get worked out in this eccentric movement.

Instructions:

  • Holding a suitable-sized dumbbell in each hand, stand in front of a step-up box. Beginners should start with a smaller box and lighter dumbbells.
  • Step onto the box with your right leg while moving your left leg up the side.
  • When you reach the top and find stability, slowly step down from the box with your left leg while feeling the quad contract eccentrically.
  • Change sides to focus on the other leg for the same number of reps after completing the desired eccentric reps for one leg.
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4) Eccentric Band Assisted Pull-Up

The fourth one in our list of eccentric exercises is eccentric band assisted pull-ups. In this exercise, you slow down the descension part of the movement so that the muscles are fully recruited.

Instructions:

  • With a long resistance band tightly knotted around the center of the bar, stand in front of a pull-up bar.
  • Step or jump up carefully to grab the bar with a wider-than-shoulder-width grip. Enter the band with one or both feet.
  • With the band's assistance, raise yourself. You should feel your back muscles contract as you slowly lower yourself back to the starting position after stabilizing at the top with your head just above the bar. The eccentric part of the rep is at this point.
  • Repeat as necessary for the desired number of reps and sets.
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5) Eccentric Barbell Squat

One of the best eccentric exercises to train the entire body, you have to slow down the descending or eccentric portion of the exercise to make it more difficult.

Instructions:

  • Install a barbell with the appropriate weight on a squat rack; this weight is typically much lower than what you would use for regular squats.
  • Placing the bar on your back, unrack the weight, and stand with your feet slightly outwardly spaced and wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Kneeling down, push against the weight on the bar, and count to three as you slowly descend. The eccentric part of the rep is at this point.
  • After pausing briefly at the bottom of each rep, push through the floor to return to the starting position.
  • Continue the previous steps, making sure to descend gradually with each repetition.
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6) Eccentric Seated Cable Row

Build your back muscles with this eccentric movement, which is the last one in our list of eccentric exercises.

Instructions:

  • Use a little less weight than usual when loading a seated cable row machine.
  • Grab the bar or handles as you sit down on the bench.
  • Row the weight back while maintaining an upright posture till the handles or bar almost touch the lower sternum.
  • Slowly reverse the motion, releasing the weight to the starting position while feeling the lats contract eccentrically.
  • For the specified number of reps and sets, repeat the movement.
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Takeaway

Performing the aforementioned eccentric exercises can promote muscle hypertrophy and provide a greater movement efficiency. Eccentric training is often used in rehabilitation to preserve muscle mass and promote muscle strength.

You can check out more best exercises for muscle mass here.

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Edited by Bhargav