Trainers should use eccentric exercise (when muscles lengthen to lower a load) to help clients push through training plateaus.
March 28, 2012
PERSONAL TRAINERS SHOULD ENCOURAGE CLIENTS TO ‘GO NEGATIVE’
Presentation explains benefits of eccentric exercise in helping break through training plateaus
LAS VEGAS – In weight rooms around the world, classic concentric and dynamic exercises rule the routines of many, but what’s the value of eccentric exercise? Len Kravitz, Ph.D., explained the physiology of eccentric exercise – when muscles lengthen to lower a load – and its role in rehabilitation and metabolism before an audience of personal trainers at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 16th annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.
Kravitz encourages trainers to get their clients to ‘go negative.’ “Eccentric muscle exercise provides many unique features of conditioning,” said Kravitz, a researcher who leads the exercise science program at the University of New Mexico. “The challenge to fitness professionals is to recognize the potential of this power-generating training method and to structure effective workouts that will benefit clients.”
Based on the findings of numerous studies, Kravitz offered a comprehensive review of eccentric exercise showcasing 24 great eccentric exercises and three different eccentric training techniques.
Eccentric exercises were first researched in the late 1800s when scientists discovered the body experienced a lower energy demand during an eccentric action as opposed to a contracting action. Perhaps the easiest illustration of eccentric exercises is walking downhill. During this type of activity, the muscles activate titin, the largest protein in the human body, and increase muscle force and performance.
Kravitz also discussed the sequence of events leading to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) when practicing eccentric exercise and techniques for reducing DOMS. He explained eccentric exercises vary slightly by gender, but show greater variation among age groups. Research shows younger people, typically men, experienced more DOMS, despite having a larger range of motion than older exercisers.
“Eccentric exercise techniques are more critical now than ever for personal trainers as fitness enthusiasts and clients desire to push through the training plateaus,” said Kravitz “With the prevalence of fitness enthusiasts pushing themselves to compete in recreational sports, it is helpful for personal trainers to realize that eccentric training is a viable intervention to use with clients needing post-rehabilitation conditioning.”
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. NOTE: Information presented at the Summit represents the professional opinions of the presenters and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the American College of Sports Medicine.