New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has shown that one type of muscle contraction is most effective for increasing muscle strength and muscle size – and the emphasis should be on lowering them, rather than lifting weights.
The team, which also included researchers from Niigata University and Nishi Kyushu University in Japan and Londrina State University in Brazil, performed three different types of dumbbell curl exercises and measured the results.
It found that those who only lost weight saw the same improvement as those who gained and lost weight — despite performing only half the repetitions.
Pay more attention to muscle contraction
ECU Professor Ken Nosaka said the results strengthened previous research that focused on ‘eccentric’ muscle contraction – in which active muscles are lengthened – to increase strength and muscle size rather than volume. is more important.
“We already know that just one eccentric muscle contraction a day can increase muscle strength if it’s done five days a week — even if it’s only three seconds a day — but is focused (lifting weights) or isometric.” Muscle contraction (holding weight) does not provide such an effect,” Professor Nosaka said.
“This latest study shows that we can be more efficient in the time we exercise and still see significant results by focusing on eccentric muscle contractions.
“In the case of the dumbbell curl, many may assume that the lifting action provides the most benefit, or at least some benefit, but we found that concentric muscle contraction contributed little to the training effects. Is.”
The study included three groups that performed dumbbell curls twice a week for five weeks, as well as a control group that did nothing.
Of the training groups, one performed eccentric-only muscle contraction (weight loss), another concentric-muscle contraction (weight lifting) and the other performed both concentric and eccentric muscle contraction (alternately lifting and lowering weight).
All three saw an improvement in concussion power, but this was the only improvement for the concentrated group.
The eccentric-only and concentric-eccentricity groups also saw significant improvements in isometric (constant) power and eccentric power.
Most interestingly, despite the eccentric-only group doing half as many reps as those lifting and lowering the weight, the gains in strength were very similar and the eccentric-only group saw an even greater improvement in muscle thickness, muscle hypertrophy. Indicator of: 7.2 percent compared to 5.4 percent of the focused-eccentric group.
“Understanding the benefits of eccentrically focused training can help people spend their time exercising more efficiently,” Professor Nosaka said.
“With the small amount of daily exercise needed to see results, people don’t even need to go to the gym—they can incorporate eccentric exercise into their routine.”
how to exercise in gym
So how can we use this knowledge in the gym?
Using dumbbells, Professor Nosaka recommends using two hands to help with the concentric (lifting) phase, before using one hand for the eccentric phase (weight lifting) when performing:
- bicep curls
- overhead extension
- front raise
- shoulder press
Using leg weight machines, Professor Nosaka recommends using the same concentric/eccentric technique when performing:
- knee extension
- leg curl
- calf raises
Home Workout & Fitness Tips
Happily, Professor Nosaka says you don’t need gym weights to apply the same principles to workouts and has come up with a number of simple exercises that anyone can do at home.
In the exercises, feel the contracting muscles gradually stretch from beginning to end of the range of motion.
After each eccentric muscle contraction, reduce the effort to return to the starting position (ie, concentric muscle contraction).
Repeat 10 times for each exercise.
sitting on the chair:
From a half-sitting position, sit slowly in a chair, over three seconds (narrower and wider stances will produce different effects). If that’s easy, try squatting with one leg.
Sit in front of a chair to create a space between your back and back, slowly leaning back over three seconds (hands can be crossed over chest or clasped behind head).
Stand on the back of a chair, lean to one side to put more weight on one leg, then sit down for three seconds.
Still on the back of a chair, lean forward and lift your heels. Then lift one leg off the ground and lower the heel of the other leg down in three seconds.
Lean on the wall with both hands fully extended. Slowly bend the elbow joint for three seconds until your face comes close to the wall.
Place one foot in front of the other and bend the knees for no more than three seconds.
Posted in ‘Comparison between concentric-only, eccentric-only and concentric-eccentric resistance training of elbow flexors for their effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy’ European Journal of Applied Physiology,