An eccentric muscle contraction occurs when the muscle is contracting while it is lengthening. Picture a simple bicep curl; as the weight is controlled back to the starting the position (after the curl) your bicep is still engaged and contracting, even though the muscle is lengthening, to prevent the weight from dropping to your side. You can use this type of exercise all over the body with a wide variety of exercises. Split squats, push-ups, and pull-ups are a few of the most fundamental exercises that can be done with nothing more than your body weight and training each motion eccentrically can be very beneficial. This type of contraction has been found to make quite the difference in a few areas we consider very important to us relative to the golf swing. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, eccentric muscle training results in “uniquely high force production while the energy cost to produce that force is uniquely low.” This provides a great way to challenge and progress an athlete who may have trouble executing both the eccentric and concentric portions of an exercise like a push-up. You may be surprised how challenging slowing down the motion really is.
Perform 3 sets of split squats, push-ups, or pull-ups and be sure to take 6-10 seconds to reach the bottom of the exercise. I look forward to hearing how you do!
See you in the Zone!