Eccentric Exercise Beats Concentric Benefits

December 29, 2010 8:23 am 1 comment

No, "eccentric exercise" does not refer odd or unfashionable routines. In this case, "eccentric" refers to exercises that stretch the muscles –like lowering your upper body from a sit up position– as distinguished from concentric exercises, in which muscles contract. Now comes a study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, indicating that eccentric exercise is in some ways better for us than concentric exercise. The Los Angeles Times reports on the study, which found that half an hour of eccentric exercise a week boosted muscle strength and lowered insulin resistance more than concentric exercise. The Times reports that 20 women were randomly assigned to an exercise group that did either concentric or eccentric movements, in this case leg movements that target the quadriceps, once a week for eight weeks. The researchers found that the eccentric exercise group substantially increased muscle strength and performance, decreased insulin resistance and improved blood lipid profiles more than concentric exercise. After two months, resting energy expenditure (the number of calories burned while at rest) increased 5 percent, similar to what people experience after endurance training or more traditional strength training that includes concentric and eccentric exercise. Looking for exercise routines that include eccentric movements? Pilates is a good place to start.

Read more in the L.A. Times.

1 Comment

  • Interesting research. Another important benefit in addition to improving strength and metabolism is that using all muscles helps prevent injuries, many of which are caused by muscle imbalances, e.g, you see NFL players pull up lame because of huge imbalances between their strong quads and weak hamstrings. As they say in physics, for every action, there’s and equal and opposite reaction. True for muscles, too.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

  • Fitness Pain High-Intensity Training Best For Endurance

    High-Intensity Training Best For Endurance

    It seems counterintuitive, but short bursts of high-intensity training appear to do more for endurance than running a marathon does. The Wall Street Journal reports on the research supporting the claim, which was conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where researchers asked 50 men to cycle as fast as possible for 30 seconds, rest for four minutes and then repeat the exercise six times. They then collected muscle tissue samples from the cyclists’ thighs, and looked for evidence of […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Women's Health Extreme Exercise Could Be Bad For Your Heart

    Extreme Exercise Could Be Bad For Your Heart

    Extreme exercise, such as running more than 35 miles a week or biking more than 150 kilometers a week, could increase levels of coronary artery calcium–a bad thing. The Wall Street Journal reports on a recent study conducted by British physicians that looked at the cardiac health of 169 serious endurance athletes. Forty-one men and 16 women in the group ran more than 35 miles or cycled more than 150 kilometers a week. The researchers found that, compared with the […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain How Many Marathons Should You Run In A Year?

    How Many Marathons Should You Run In A Year?

    For years, the Wall Street Journal tells us, most marathoners thought it wise to limit the number of races run per year to two. Now, however, comes a new school of thought that suggests that running more could be just fine, and good for your finish time. The paper reports that so far in 2015, 15.8 precent of marathon finishers in races tracked by the Active Network ran more than one marathon this year, compared with just 2.3 percent in […]

    Read more →
  • Pain For Dislocated Shoulder, Just Say No To Surgery

    For Dislocated Shoulder, Just Say No To Surgery

    Yes, shoulder dislocations hurt. So does recovery from the surgery that often follows dislocations. Now comes a study from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto suggesting that surgery can do more harm than good, by prolonging the recovery period from a shoulder dislocation. Researchers at the hospital studied the progress of 83 patients who suffered moderate or severe shoulder dislocations. Some patients received either plate-and-screws surgery followed by rehabilitation and others had non-surgical treatment with sling and rehabilitation. Ready? the envelope […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain How To Uncramp A Cramped Muscle

    How To Uncramp A Cramped Muscle

    Cramped muscles, as New York Times health columnist Gretchen Reynolds tells us, were long thought to result from dehydration. Not anymore. That supposition was disproved when tests showed that it takes the same amount of small electric shocks administered to muscles of athletes who were dehydrated and athletes who were not to stimulate a cramp. What then does cause a muscle to cramp? Reynolds says recent research suggests that it’s  nerve endings that are overexcited, paradoxically, because they’re tired. What to […]

    Read more →
  • Gear Pain Supplements Send 20,000 To ER Each Year

    Supplements Send 20,000 To ER Each Year

    Dietary supplements send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room every year, according to a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New York Times reports on the research, which tracked emergency room visits at a large network of hospitals around the country over a 10-year period. The Times reports that injuries from supplements include allergic reactions, heart trouble, nausea and vomiting, they were largely tied to a variety of […]

    Read more →
  • Pain For Lower Back Pain, Skip Therapy And Keep Moving

    For Lower Back Pain, Skip Therapy And Keep Moving

    How good is physical therapy for lower back pain? Not so good, according to researchers at the University of Utah, who followed more than 200 people with recent-onset low back pain who were randomly assigned to physical therapy or no treatment for the first month after their pain began. HealthDay reports that three months in, the researchers did notice some modest improvement in the ability to move among those who did physical therapy, which included back manipulation and exercise, but after a […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Pain Beer After A Workout? Possibly, With Care

    Beer After A Workout? Possibly, With Care

    Is drinking a beer after a dehydrating workout a good idea or a bad idea? According to the Wall Street Journal, it depends. The Journal quotes Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Va., advising us that, while the body needs carbs after a workout, beer, with only 14 grams of carbs per beer, is not best provider. White says a hard workout is best followed with water, or with drinks with a carbs-to-protein ratio of […]

    Read more →