T Nation

Eccentrics: Fast (Waterbury) vs. Slow


Hey people,

Recently Chad Waterbury (a classic site article contributor) claimed that eccentrics should last the least time possible that a controlled motion permits.

A recent article on the other hand states slowing down the eccentrics to generate an unstable eccentric.

What do you think?


Fast eccentrics, but controlled. Thats it. End of story.

Waterbury is too dogmatic, no longer a fan.

Lets end it here.


Surely he didn't claim that the eccentric portion of the lift shoul ALWAYS be done quickly?

Seems a little narrow minded to me. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, always controlled. I drop into my squat fairly quickly in comparison to how I perform incline DB press, for example. Or sometimes I speed up if I feel my strength leaving me during the eccentric portion. I don't understand how he could apply that to all training.

Can you link or cite the article?


Yeah I do the same, fast but controlled eccentric. Except for chins/pull-ups. I go a bit slower on the negative portion on those.


Thanks for your thoughts.

What do you think about doing a very fast uncontrolled eccentric motion and then stabilizing it at the end of the eccentric (the end point of the eccentric movement) with a relatively isometric powerful contraction of practically every skeletal muscle in the body. Maybe this contraction would generate more power than the one you invested in controlling the descent.

I wouldn't apply this to squats though, obviously for safety issues. Neither for deadlifts. For now just fast controlled eccentrics for these.

-About the Waterbury article, if I remember correctly it was the publication of a T-Nation contributor interview and he was talking about something else and Waterbury barely mentioned the subject. It must have been published during the last 3 to 4 months.


Also, I believe the author of the article who recommended sacrificing some speed to gain activation of the stabilizers during the eccentric motion was Eric Cressey in a very recent article.


i do that kind of fast unstable eccentric on the chin ups and pull ups, causes you to tens everything in the last second before arms become straight and change direction...sometimes i pushed up on the chin up bar to speed up the eccentric and then switch


Not a fan personally.


I've done the fast eccentric thing, and only walked away from it after a number of weeks with some tendonitis issues. Shoulders, elbow and knee. So I stopped. If you can do it safely, more power to you.


lol, oh the irony...

You claim there is only one 'right' way to skin a cat, and then call someone else out for being dogmatic... lmao


Fast but controlled eccentrics are what majority of bodybuilders use. Its not the only way. But its the way most people do it.

The reason why I wanted to end the thread right there was so that it didn't turn into a clusterfuck of arguing over this shit.


Not sure if this the place to ask, but why are "grinder" reps not recommended. Or are they not recommended during your ramping sets only? I figure your last couple of sets should completely exhaust the target muscle group(s).


Isnt there different muscle site activation when in the eccentric part of the movement? If so, wouldn't it be of same importance as the concentric part?

Trap_builder you seem to be a contemporary on T-Nation, give us some good advice mate. Im trying to grow large traps, but it seems that my forearm weakness takes over when doing farmer walks or o-lifts


Dorian Yates

I think this is the practical consideration that will have the final say for most people

Possible cons of a fast eccentric... less control, less feel in the muscle, joint wear
Possible cons of a slow one... more muscle damage. And is this even a con?

So what is wrong with doing a slow eccentric/what is the benefit of trying to speed it up? For most exercises, I haven't even noticed a strength difference when doing a slow vs fast eccentric. Just more control, usually a better pump, and more consistent reps. Doing a slow concentric is where the problem would be, I think



Try using a thin grip barbell to minimize forearm use.


Use lifting straps once the weight gets too heavy for your forearms to hold (do all sets where this isn't an issue without the straps though so your gripping muscles will continue to strengthen). The only time this might be not such a great idea would be if you were actually competing in strongman/O-lifting competitions where you couldn't use straps. In those cases you might want to do some specific "support grip" work (i.e thick bar pulling exercises, timed holds, etc...) to focus on your gripping muscles.


The latter. The question is, do you want to overly fatigue yourself on lesser sets? Assuming you are working up to a certain weight, with your final set being the heaviest.

This is starting to fall into different training theories. Neither way is right or wrong, just depends what you are trying to achieve and the way the program is to be followed.

Speaking from personal perspective, grinding reps tend to have a significant impact on the exercises that follow. Not ideal for me personally when I'm trying to move as much weight as I can for as many reps as desired.

EDIT: with that stated, I'm not totally against them neither totally for. I actually incorporate them in most of my exercises.