T Nation

Fast Eccentric Training ???


I just read an article that stated some university study was held at Harvard and the results found that moving the weight eccentrically quickly then stopping and pausing isometrically with a smooth concentric contraction produces the most micro trauma creating a stronger hypertrophy effect than traditional concentric or eccentric lifting. Has anyone heard of this and is there any validity?

By the way I read in Men’s Journal that T-Nation is one of the top 10 websites (ranked by them) for fitness and the top site of interest in weightlifting and weight training. Good job!

Find below the study. The theory they put forth is that trying to stop the weight that is moving at a high speed causes more damage then the slower contraction. I am not sure what studies have been done to validate this yet. It gives you yet another varialbe to exploit in your rotation of training parameters.

Short-term high- vs. low-velocity isokinetic lengthening training results in greater hypertrophy of the elbow flexors in young men
Tim N. Shepstone,1 Jason E. Tang,1 Stephane Dallaire,1 Mark D. Schuenke,2 Robert S. Staron,2 and Stuart M. Phillips1
1Exercise and Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Submitted 16 September 2004 ; accepted in final form 29 December 2004

We performed two studies to determine the effect of a resistive training program comprised of fast vs. slow isokinetic lengthening contractions on muscle fiber hypertrophy. In study I, we investigated the effect of fast (3.66 rad/s; Fast) or slow (0.35 rad/s; Slow) isokinetic high-resistance muscle lengthening contractions on muscle fiber and whole muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) of the elbow flexors was investigated in young men. Twelve subjects (23.8 ? 2.4 yr; means ? SD) performed maximal resistive lengthening isokinetic exercise with both arms for 8 wk (3 days/wk), during which they trained one arm at a Fast velocity while the contralateral arm performed an equivalent number of contractions at a Slow velocity. Before (Pre) and after (Post) the training, percutaneous muscle biopsies were taken from the midbelly of the biceps brachii and analyzed for fiber type and CSA. Type I muscle fiber size increased Pre to Post (P < 0.05) in both Fast and Slow arms. Type IIa and IIx muscle fiber CSA increased in both arms, but the increases were greater in the Fast- vs. the Slow-trained arm (P < 0.05). Elbow flexor CSA increased in Fast and Slow arms, with the increase in the Fast arm showing a trend toward being greater (P = 0.06). Maximum torque-generating capacity also increased to a greater degree (P < 0.05) in the Fast arm, regardless of testing velocity. In study II, we attempted to provide some explanation of the greater hypertrophy observed in study I by examining an indicator of protein remodeling (Z-line streaming), which we hypothesized would be greater in the Fast condition. Nine men (21.7 ? 2.4 yr) performed an acute bout (n = 30, 3 sets x 10 repetitions/set) of maximal lengthening contractions at Fast and Slow velocities used in the training study. Biopsies revealed that Fast lengthening contractions resulted in more (185 ? 1 7%; P < 0.01) Z-band streaming per millimeter squared muscle vs. the Slow arm. In conclusion, training using Fast (3.66 rad/s) lengthening contractions leads to greater hypertrophy and strength gains than Slow (0.35 rad/s) lengthening contractions. The greater hypertrophy seen in the Fast-trained arm (study I) may be related to a greater amount of protein remodeling (Z-band streaming; study II).

Dogma Destroyed?

Theories Tested?

The sky is falling?

Probably not, but it’d be cool to see how this pans out in the real world.

Here’s another recent study on this topic:

The effects of eccentric and concentric training at different velocities on muscle hypertrophy

Jonathan P. Farthing A1 and Philip D. Chilibeck A1

A1 College of Kinesiology University of Saskatchewan 105 Gymnasium Place Saskatoon Saskatchewan S7N 5C2 Canada


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of isokinetic eccentric (ECC) and concentric (CON) training at two velocities [fast, 180? s -1(3.14 rad s -1) and slow,30? s -1(0.52 rad s -1)] on muscle hypertrophy. Twenty-four untrained volunteers (age 18?36 years) participated in fast- ( n=13) or slow- ( n=11) velocity training, where they trained one arm eccentrically for 8 weeks followed by CON training of the opposite arm for 8 weeks. Ten subjects served as controls (CNT). Subjects were tested before and after training for elbow flexor muscle thickness by sonography and isokinetic strength (Biodex). Overall, ECC training resulted in greater hypertrophy than CON training ( P<0.01). No significant strength or hypertrophy changes occurred in the CNT group. ECC (180? s -1) training resulted in greater hypertrophy than CON (180? s -1) training and CON (30? s -1) training ( P<0.01). ECC (30? s -1) training resulted in greater hypertrophy than CON (180? s -1) training ( P<0.05), but not CON (30? s -1) training. ECC (180? s -1) training resulted in the greatest increases in strength ( P<0.01). We conclude that ECC fast training is the most effective for muscle hypertrophy and strength gain.

Say on a squat if you descend very quickly then reverse the movement, wouldn’t that develop a lot of starting strength/reactivew strength. Isn’t applying the force to reverse the direction of a fast eccentric more akin to an explosive concentric?

It reminds me of doing a boxing workout for the first time in a long time. The concentric muscles will feel fine, but the upper back… that is misery for days.

[quote]conorh wrote:
Say on a squat if you descend very quickly then reverse the movement, wouldn’t that develop a lot of starting strength/reactivew strength. Isn’t applying the force to reverse the direction of a fast eccentric more akin to an explosive concentric?[/quote]

I could be wrong but I think starting strength is developed best by starting from the bottom and doing only the concentric part of the lift or taking a long pause at the bottom after the eccentric. This is so you can’t make use of any stored elastic energy.

When you do fast eccentrics and you reverse quickly you get a potentiation effect on the concentric portion of the lift. Apparently this only holds true up to a point. If you drop too quickly then a lot of eccentric force is required to decelerate the movement. Once eccentric gets too high then it starts to have a negative impact.

Takarada, Y., Y. Hirano, et al. (1997). “Stretch-induced enhancement of mechanical power output in human multijoint exercise with countermovement.” J Appl Physiol 83(5): 1749-55.