So you are looking to build lean muscle mass and strength but haven’t had any luck.  First understand that you are not alone.  There are many people that share your frustrations.  But be rest assured that all of your sweat and hard work will pay off.

There are so many workout programs out there that fall short.  I discussed in a recent article the 7 ‘Granddaddy’ Laws of fitness and one of the most important principles of these laws is the Principle of Individual Differences.  Each person (client) is different than the other.  Some of these differences can include differences in response to exercise, differences in genetics, social status, body shape or size, past experience, gender, and chronic conditions.  This is why it is so important to have a program designed specifically for you.

There are many training techniques out there that can be beneficial when trying to gain lean muscle and strength.  Although your diet is extremely important in achieving this, here is one training technique that has somewhat fallen to the wayside over the years.  This technique focuses on emphasizing the eccentric (negative) portion of the movement.

There are two types of movement when performing a resistance exercise (weight training).  The two components are eccentric and concentric.  Eccentric Movements are those that cause the muscle to lengthen.  An example would be when you lower the bar to your chest as in the bench press.  Concentric Movements occur when the muscle is shortened, or contracted.  This is achieved when you “press” the weight up off of the chest as in the bench press.

Many lifters only focus on the concentric movements when training with weights.  Unfortunately they are missing one of the best ways to build more muscle and strength.  Performing eccentric movements is an extremely intense training technique which requires a spotter on most exercises.

So how do you correctly perform Eccentric Training?  As stated above, this requires a spotter.  For the sake of this article I will focus on two different exercises, the bench press and the barbell curl.  You will be able to handle much more weight using the eccentric training.  Load the bar with your 1 rep maximum weight.  Have your spotter lift the bar off of the rack and let go.  Slowly lower the bar down to your chest.  Once at your chest have your spotter grab the bar and take 80-90% of the load lifting the bar back to the starting position.  Then repeat this process for a determined amount of sets/reps.

When performing Eccentric Training for barbell curls the eccentric portion of the exercise would be as you lower the bar down towards your waist.  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, grab a loaded straight bar and get into the barbell curl position.  The bar should have a weight that allows you to perform 1 repetition.  Have your spotter help you raise the bar to chest level.  Again, your spotter should take 80-90% of the weight load.  Once at the top of the movement, have your spotter let go.  Slowly lower the bar down to the starting position (waist level).  Your spotter should again take most of the load helping you to curl the weight up to chest level.  Then repeat this process for a determined amount of sets/reps.

Eccentric Training is an intense, no holds barred, muscle-building tool that most trainees do not take advantage of. Eccentric Training allows you to be up to 1.6 times stronger during the movement. If you want to maximize muscle growth and strength adding Eccentric Training may be the golden ticket!  But you need to understand that eccentric training takes much longer to recover from than concentric training.  Do not perform this type of training each and every workout.

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