Looking around the gym, you will see various types of exercises and speed of lifting. You’ve got the power lifter, who lifting for mass with maximum weight. The “loligagers” who are there to burn calories but then seem to be texting and talking way to much. The rockers (no not music), they are rocking back and fourth to get momentum because they shouldn’t be lifting that much weight. Lastly you have the “professionals” who know what they are doing with proper form, the right lifting speed, and the 8 seconds that could change everything. This last group is hard to find but with a little help, and our fitness tips, you can join them and get the body you deserve.
8 Seconds to Magic
It sounds simple but the 4 seconds is known as the eccentric phase of lifting. This phase is when you are working WITH gravity and the muscle is lengthening. Emphasizing this phase of training by counting to 4 has been proven to get you better strength gains, and overall more lean body mass. This is also known as the “negative” of weight lifting. The concentric phase of lifting is when the muscle is contracting or shortening.
2 Seconds to lift the weight / 2 Second Hold / 4 Seconds down (eccentric) – These are the magic numbers to get the most out of you lifting.
Example: Using a bicep curl (below) you can see how concentric and eccentric work and how to apply these fitness tips.
If you’ve never used this training tool before, get ready to burn! Keep in mind that the eccentric portion of the lift (lengthening of the muscle), is actually the one that creates muscle and strength. Which also means that it will make you sore too! While both phases of training are important. The eccentric phase receives the most praise based on studies and fitness professionals.
Why is Eccentric so important?
- In the concentric phase of training (muscle shortening), nerve impulses fire to preform the bicep curl portion. While in the eccentric phase, the body has to go against the weight to return to starting position (with very little nerve impulses).
- A study from East Carolina University found that placing an emphasis on the eccentric overload experienced a 46 percent increase in strength in just 1 week!
- A 2007 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found women were up to 160 percent stronger in the eccentric phase of an exercise than in the concentric phase over the course of a 2- week testing period.
- A 2007 study from Penn State University found that eccentric training not only significantly increased lean muscle, it also helped improve bone density and bone mineral content among women.
Slowing Down For Better Muscle Definition
- If you take away the speed you take away the momentum. The “cheaters” in the gym fly through their workout routines with half the results. However, they may end up with extra aches and pains due to all the extra bouncing to lift the weight.
- TIME UNDER TENSION – this was hammered into my head while studying Kinesiology in College. The biggest strength gains don’t come from repetitions, they come from how my time your muscle is actually under tension. This also applies to things like crunches. It’s not how many crunches you do, it how long you do them!
One study from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found men and women who slowed down the amount of time it took to perform one repetition had about a 50 percent increase in strength after about eight weeks of training (source)
The Mind Body Connection
Whether you are doing eccentric or concentric movement, this process also helps you focus on the muscles you are working. This allows your body to connect better to that specific muscle which lead to better definition, better strength, and an overall better body. Fitness tips like these are small but could make a HUGE difference in your muscle tone, definition and size (if you are training for muscle gain). Ultimately, this type of training also aids in more calorie burning as well! Keep Lifting, Adria