I have been working out of gyms for almost 30 years now and this is the one tip I wish I could pass on to as many people as possible.
It’s a very simple muscle contraction that is the most effective for building muscle. This is called the eccentric muscle contraction. An eccentric muscle contraction occurs when a muscle lengthens while under tension,
typically during the lowering phase of an exercise. For example, when you lower a dumbbell during a bicep curl, your bicep is undergoing an eccentric contraction. Eccentric contractions can be beneficial for muscle due to increased muscle damage: Eccentric contractions cause more micro-tears in muscle fibres compared to concentric (shortening) contractions. This increased damage triggers the body’s repair and growth processes, leading to muscle hypertrophy (growth).
Another benefit is that muscles can handle more load during eccentric contractions than during concentric ones. This means you can work with heavier weights during the lowering phase, which can stimulate greater muscle growth. Growing muscle like any discipline has a right and a wrong way, in my 30 years of resistance training I have learned how to grow muscle in a safe and effective way. One consideration for training in this way, is that you will often need a training partner or personal trainer to spot you during this eccentric phase (and to help with the concentric phase of the lift – think shoulder press) – and that’s where I come in.
Get in touch if you’d like to train together and break through any current plateaus you have. Would love to hear from you!