Eccentric Workouts

To any woman out there who is fed up with trying the same thing over and over, I offer this suggestion. Instead of getting back on the treadmill “one more time,” try this. Alter your diet so that you eat no grain-based carbohydrate: no flour, no sugar, no bread, no pasta, and no high-fructose corn syrup. Then go to the gym and perform a workout of leg press, pull down, chest press, row and overhead press. Lift slowly and smoothly but with as much effort as possible. Go to complete fatigue, or as close to it as you can tolerate. Work out once, or at most, twice a week. Make sure your workouts last no longer than 20 minutes. Then sit back and watch what happens. —Doug McGuff, MD

Go smarter, not harder

What is an Eccentric Exercise?

The eccentric phase of a lift occurs when a muscle contracts while lengthening. This is the down motion of the bench press, biceps curl, or squat. The concentric phase of a lift occurs when a muscle contracts and shortens, as in the up motion of the bench press, biceps curl, or squat.  Eccentric exercise puts muscles under tension for longer, stimulating more muscle growth.

Eccentric Exercise Ideas

Eccentric exercises tend to involve minimal equipment use and in fact can be done using just body weight and everyday items and a mat, for example –

  • Slow push ups with the slow count on the lower part (i.e. count 10 going down, one coming up)
  • Pull ups from a bar, count ten going down
  • Dips on parallel counting ten on the down part
  • One leg squats counting ten going down, holding and then using both feet to push up
  • Slow downward sit-ups

With each do six slow reps or until failure – again the emphasis is on quality not quantity, if you do three slowly and can’t do more that’s great.  If feel you can repeat, rest for a couple of minutes and do a second round.

If you have dumbbells you add curls and shoulder presses.  If you are in a gym you can add leg extensions.

Once a week is enough and if you exercise more routinely this is good to work into your routine remembering that if done correctly your body needs at least a day’s rest after.

If you are fitter you might want to try –

  • Pushups (2 sets of 6) Lower for a count of ten/ one count on the rising phase
  • Split Squats (2 sets of 6) Lower for a count of ten on the lowering phase/ one count on the rising phase
  • Bentover Rows (2 sets of 6) Count of one on the up phase/ count of five on the lowering phase
  • Sprint in place for 30 seconds
  • Leg Extensions (2 sets of 6) Count of one on the extension phase/ count of ten on the lowering phase
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses (2 sets of 6) Count of ten on the lowering phase/ one count on the rising phase
  • Standing Single-leg Curl with weight (2 sets of 6 on each side.) Count of one on the extension phase/ count of ten on the lowering phase
  • Sprint in place for 1:00 minute