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.

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