Eccentric v. Concentric and the Effects on Muscle Growth

Eccentric v. Concentric and the Effects on Muscle Growth

You’ve been going to the gym for several months now and you are asking yourself, “why do I look the same? What am I doing wrong in my workouts? I am lifting more weight, but not seeing muscle growth?”

If you have been asking yourself these questions, or have been having a tough time with seeing progress in the mirror… You’ve found the right article to read!

I am going to explain to you what may be one of the most effective ways to train if your goal is to build muscle efficiently. But first, you have to forget about all of the B.S. you’ve read on “mainstream” online sites and the bro science people share on their Youtube channels and Instagrams. These people confuse you with too many concepts and leave you even more confused about how muscle fibers get torn to grow more muscle or demonstrate bogus workouts that aren’t very effective.

If you haven’t heard, it’s really sad to know that some training methods out there simply don’t work and will give no benefit to you in regards to muscle hypertrophy.

The purpose of this article is to explain to you how muscle can be built, which requires the concentric and eccentric movement. When you lift a weight, you’re performing a concentric contraction or shortening the muscle.[1] If you are like most rookie lifters, you don’t give a damn about lowering the weight in general; You’re only focus is to lift heavier weights and show off to the girls in the gym. You’ll let that weight come down without realizing the benefit you can have with controlling your reps and utilizing one of the biggest hidden secrets to muscle building.

To reiterate for those that are slightly confused, when you lift a weight, muscle fibers shorten; When you lower a weight, muscle fibers lengthen. It is important to remember that a muscle tends to get bigger by increasing the size of the fibers that make up a muscle.

That being said, from a muscle-building perspective eccentric contractions or the lengthening of the muscle in each rep may allow a muscle to be ‘torn’, which may cause these muscles to grow back bigger, better, and stronger. 

The feeling or soreness you get after a workout is pertaining to the result of some degree of an eccentric exercise.[1] For example, you’re legs can get extremely sore after running downhill because your  quadriceps (front leg group of muscles) are lengthening each stride you take resulting in more muscle fiber damage and higher tension.

In two studies (Higbie 1996; Vikne 2006)  when comparing ACSA (anatomical cross sectional area) muscle hypertrophy in response to eccentric vs concentric resistance training, these studies suggested that the eccentric resistance training may be a better training method for  muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth. [1]

To summarize the past few paragraphs, lowering a weight slowly and controlled is a good idea if your goal is muscle growth. But what about rep range? How many reps should you do in order to obtain the positive effects of eccentric movements? Well if you lift too light of a weight for high reps, you may not experience enough tension, which will recruit fewer fibers and may not cause muscle hypertrophy. That being said, the focus should be towards time under tension (TUT). This concept was reviewed in a study with eight men performing 3 sets of knee extensions, allowing 6-second eccentric actions per repetition. In other words, eight 24 (+ or – one year) year old men were doing leg extensions and lowering the weight down in a six second interval. The study revealed that greater TUT increased mitochondrial  and myofibrillar protein synthesis 24-30 hours post workout. In laments terms, improving mitochondrial protein synthesis improves your bodies metabolism, maintains healthy cells, and reduces your chances of obtaining disorders like diabetes, obesity, and peripheral arterial disease. [3]

For me, I focus on 8-12 reps per set. If I can lift a weight in a controlled manner for 12 reps I will bump the weight up 5-10 lbs next set or will go up in weight on that exercise next week.

Hope this helps. You can also listen to this topic on my Podcast on Apple podcast here. If you subscribe to my Podcast you will get updated with all of my episodes (Intermittent Fasting episode will be available soon!). Additionally, if you are new to the website, please subscribe and leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you and help you with any questions you may have about fitness and strategic dieting to stay lean or bulk up.

Make Today Count.




[2] ACSA



Hey Everyone! I'm really excited to announce that I will be officially starting cooperbrunnerfitness! To give a quick overview, I will basically be discussing concepts or frameworks I've learned through research that I believe are critical to learn to become a disciplined, successful individual in all aspects of life. Your probably wondering.. Why are you all of the sudden deciding to become a blogger? Well... For years I have been studying/reading about influential people (Warren, Gary V, Tony Robbins, Zuck, Jobs..) that began with nothing and incrementally worked their way into becoming successful entrepreneurs. My hope is that while writing these blogs, I can ultimately inspire you to change your life and conquer those challenges you face everyday that block you from your goals. By no means am I saying that everything I talk about is the magic secret to success, but by reading the content I write about, hopefully you can take away some small tips/advice that can help inspire you to create ways on improving your life and the others around you. MAKE TODAY COUNT.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Informative post, i’m not into growing thought, but i won’t to make it more visible🤸🏽‍♂️

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