How to Get Strong and Healthy With Slow Eccentric Training

Slow reps can make for fast gains.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

“What’s an eccentric?”

There are three phases involved with lifting a weight:

  • The isometric (pausing) phase.
  • The concentric (lifting) phase.

Why you‘ll benefit from slowing down the eccentric:

There are three key reasons why anyone could benefit from performing a 3 to 5 second eccentric on any given exercise — whether you’re still in your first 1 to 2 years of training or you’re a seasoned veteran that could use a refresher.

1. They’re a great teaching tool:

If there’s a flaw in your technique, slowing the movement down is going to greatly expose it. Once you know where that flaw is, you can work to correct it.

2. They’re joint friendly

Deliberately slowing your reps down keeps your form honest, prevents you from trying to move a weight you can’t truly handle with near perfect form, and gives you an optimal training effect without having to use as heavy of a weight as you might be used to. ⁣⁣

3. They increase time under tension:

A set of 6 reps can look VERY different depending on how you’re doing them. You could sling the weight around 6 times without really focusing on the muscle you’re trying to work in the first place — or you can make every one of those 6 reps mean something by focusing on feeling the muscle stretch & contract with each rep, making sure the quality of the movement is as clean as possible, and effectively increasing the time under tension — a key component to packing on lean muscle.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Programming considerations for slow eccentrics:

If you’ve got less than 2 years of strength training experience under your belt, it could benefit you to spend up to a year or more focusing on slow, controlled eccentrics. Once you become more advanced, the explosive work you’ll eventually move onto will be done with a greater level of control than the trainee that simply “goes through the motions” when learning to lift weights.

  1. Serve as a reminder to clean up your form before loading anymore weight on the bar.
  2. Even at an advanced stage, you could still tap into new found muscle & strength gains from improving the overall quality of your workouts across the board.

CPPS, NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach. I write about improving yourself by developing good habits. Website: - IG: zackharris01

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