T Nation

Concentric Work

T-men and T-vixen comrades, what athletic events would you say have little or no eccentric work. Swimming and olympic lifting come to mind, but can you think of any others.

Olympic lifting has some huge eccentric work.

Johnny Quick,

You don’t think that catching a very heavy bar in a FULL squat counts as eccentric work? But other then swimming, I can’t think of any, since any event that involves running, by definition, involves eccentric work.

I can think of discus, shot put and the hammer throw.

Rowing has no eccentric work. Whenever the blade is out of the water, the goal is to totally relax and let the boat float forward underneath you. Olympic lifting has no eccentric work-in the squat position the lifter is using their reversible strength which is a huge concentric contraction.

Cycling, if done correctly, has basically no eccentric component.

I disagree about swimming and cycling.
In swimming, the arms may not have a concentric movement, but the legs must kick in both direction (up and down).
Cycling, if done correctly, you are clipped in to the pedals, therefore pushing and pulling.

Cycling has no eccentric component. Even if you are pulling up between the 6 and 12 o’clock positions (which you should not), that is still concentric contraction of the knee flexors, hip extensors and then knee flexors and maybe some of the dorsiflexors. All concentric though.

This isn’t scientific support, but that is why highly trained cyclists cannot run.

Bionic - Pushing and pulling do not make a movement eccentric. The idea of eccentric is that a muscle is extending while contracted (flexed). Like the quads during the lowering phase of the squat. The raising of the leg (during a pedal stroke) is done with the hip flexors, and the quads should be relaxed during this phase. With swimming, I think there is a small eccentric during the recovery in the freestyle (that’s where the arm is out of the water and traveling forward). I think there is some stretching of the rear delt while holding the arm up, but then again, if done with proper body roll, that is probably minimal.

Steve – I don’t remember from that cycling thread a while back if you are one of the cyclists, but I really gotta take issue with your post of not pulling up on the pedal during the upward phase of the pedal stroke. While most cyclists don’t, the highly trained ones do, but usually just enough to unweight the pedal. The ones with the good jump in a sprint utilize a big time pull for the first few pedal strokes to get that acceleration. Also, as a former triathlete, I gotta also take issue with your assertion that cyclists can’t run. There are a number of pro cyclists that are branching into triathlon (and duathlon) that are seriously kicking butt. The fact is most pros DON’T run during the competetive season because of the muscle damage to the quads (and the required recovery), not because they CAN’T. How about cyclocross? Many of the pros do this after their road season.

Unweighting a pedal is not pulling up. Look up some papers by Ed Coyle in the early nineties. He compared the force profile of elite national caliber time trialists (I believe a young Armstrong was one of the participants as well as some other old school studs) and compared them to “good” regional cat III/II time trialists. The elite caliber TTs had a lower force impulse on the upstroke than the regional riders, and almost all of the physiological parameters were not different. The elites also produced more force on the downstroke. His take home message was that the really top notch riders conserved energy on the upstroke and produced more force on the downstroke (actually somewhere around 3 o’clock).

There are exceptions to every rule, but MOST highly trained/elite cyclists use a relatively high cadence (>100 rpm) when racing. At such a high cadence, it is next to impossible to produce force on the upstroke without being counter productive. As cadence is reduced though, some will produce a certain amount of force on the up. Is this better or worse? I don't know, but the Coyle studies were very well done, and I personally subscribe to that philosophy.

As far as crossing over sports, again, there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part elite cyclists cannot run. You are right to a certain extent that this may be because they don't run, but that is the gist of my argument. There is no eccentric component to cycling, so if all you do is cycle for years, you cannot run (believe me I know this all too well).

As far as sprinting goes, that is a bit of an atypical example for cycling. The cycling stroke during a sprint cannot be extrapolated (correct word??) to a longer time frame. Sprinting is a very inefficient form of cycling. You put out a lot of power, but the energy cost is great. So yes, you are pullin up on the pedals, and on the bars and maybe the guy next to you (I was in a pretty hairy finish over the weekend), but form is not something you can maintain for an extended period of time.

At this point I have forgetten if there were any other points to address, and this is a weightlifting board, not cycling, so I need to get back to work. Take care.

Table tennis & lawn darts.

most of 'em.

Skydiving without a parachute…oh wait.