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Eccentric Contraction - Glute Ham Raise
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Eccentric Contraction – How to Use it To Prevent Injury

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Most athletes workout and focus on the concentric contraction and forget about the eccentric contraction. The eccentric contraction can serve many purposes including building more functional strength and helping to prevent injury. The reason eccentric strength is so necessary is that many sports use eccentric contractions and you don’t even think about it. If eccentric contractions are the demand, but you train using concentric, there is a training gap an that opens the door for injury.

Types of Contractions

Concentric Contraction

  • Muscle is flexing as it is being shortened
  • Most training programs use concentric contractions
  • Example = Normal Bicep Curl

Bicep Curl

Eccentric Contraction

  • Muscle is flexing as it is being lengthened
  • Opposite of concentric contractions
  • Best when the concentric portion is skipped
  • Requires help from others to help reset
  • Example = Glute-Ham Raises

Isometric Contraction

  • Muscle is flexing but is staying in the same position
  • Least trained type of contraction
  • Example = Wall sits for 60 seconds

Not All Muscles Liked to Be Trained With Eccentric Contractions

Some muscles have a bias towards eccentric contractions and others that do not. If an exercise feels unnatural to train eccentrically, that is ok. The hamstring is often used eccentrically when sprinting so eccentric exercises feel more comfortable.

The goal of eccentric training is not to train everything eccentrically just because you can. You want to have a plan, and you want that plan to reflect the demands that are placed on your body. For a sprinter eccentric hamstring training is essential. For a wrestler, eccentric bicep training may be the top priority.

The glute muscle, on the other hand, does not work the same way. It is rare for the glues to be used eccentrically. If you were to do a glute bridge with an eccentric contraction, it would feel weird. You would not feel like you are even training anything.

Great Muscles for Eccentric Training

Lattisimus Dorsi

  • Example Exercise = Lat Pul Down
  • Easiest using the machine and having a partner
  • Get a partner to give you the weight in a position where the hands are closest the body, and the lat is flexed
  • Grab a weight and slowly lengthen arms stretching out the Lattisimus Dorsi
  • Should be slow and over the course of 5 seconds

Chest

  • Example Exercise = Bench Press
  • Get a partner to give you the weight in a position where the hands are furthest from the body
  • Grab the weight and slowly lower the weight down to the chest
  • Should be slow and over the course of 5 seconds
  • Get assistance moving the weight back up to the top

 

Quads

  • Sample Exercise = Squat
  • Unrack weight in the normal squat starting position
  • Slowly begin to lower weight
  • Should be slow and over the course of 5 seconds
  • Get assistance moving from the bottom

 

Hamstrings

  • Make sure ankles are secured, so they do not move
  • Begin moving hips and body forward but staying in a straight line
  • No breaking at the hips
  • Slowly lower body until knees are straight
  • Should be slow and over the course of 5 seconds
  • Push self up to the starting position using your hands and start again
  • Should be slow and over the course of 5 seconds

As you can see from the explanations above, an eccentric contraction can be done with any muscle as long as it is being lengthened as the contraction is taking place. Figure out which muscles need the eccentric portion trained can be as simple as watching the film.

 

Learn What Muscles Need Eccentric Contraction Work

Eccentric Contraction

When you watch the film, you need to watch for areas where your muscle needs to be strong as it is lengthening. For example, a wrestler would want their biceps to be strong in all three ways of contracting.

In wrestling when you grab someone, there will be times where you are flexing as hard as you can, but the muscle stays in the same place as an isometric contracting. There will be a time where the person is pulling away giving you an eccentric contraction.

Break down your film and write down the three most important places that you see eccentric contractions taking place. Once you have those down, you need a game plan to work them.

To provide another example think of any athlete who sprints. Many might want to work the hamstring concentrically, but that is the least risky for the hamstring when running. The hard parts are the isometric and concentric contractions that take place.

During sprinting your foot is looking to recover and it ends when your heel is to your but and after that, the eccentric contraction begins because your hamstring has to break to stop your foot from swinging out too far. Then as it hits the ground for a split second, it is in an isometric contraction. To prevent injury you need to train all of these areas.

How Eccentric Work Prevents Injuries

Eccentric work prevents injuries because it helps to cover three sides of a triangle.

  1. Concentric
  2. Eccentric
  3. Isometric

Most people have one side covered, so the muscle is at risk when it has to do 2/3 of contractions. The best way to prevent injury is to cover all three sides.

Eccentric work is the easiest one to skip over because it can be the hardest to train. It is tedious work that requires counting to five seconds. Your body can often live the most weight eccentrically as well.

The only way this all works is if you have a preventative mindset. Don’t fall into the healthcare trap that most people fall into. You don’t want to wait until you are hurt to start getting treatment and taking care of yourself. The second your season starts, you should be focused on preventing injury.

Injury Prevention Is The Best Investment You Can Make

Working on your eccentric contraction strength is considered to be an investment in injury prevention. The reason is that you make the muscles less vulnerable to injury when you train them to be strong in the way they will be used.

Whether you are working on your eccentric contraction strength, jumping in an ice tub or see your local sports medicine professional, taking care of your body is worth it. To be great you must avoid the bench like the plague. The only way to be great is to play, and you have to make sure you have the opportunities to do just that.

Finding The Best Healthcare Providers for Athletic Injuries

Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Massage Therapist that specializes in deep tissue massage. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.

If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or just sore from killing workouts.

The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that. Just like you need more info on an eccentric contraction, you need to figure out more about your healthcare provider.

 

 

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