We know that microtrauma is caused in a muscle during the eccentric movement (if the muscle is fatigued and there’s a load on the muscle). My question is, if you were to perform only concentric movements (thus working the muscle), would there still be damage to heal? Would there be microtrauma? How about if the concentric was slow? I’m asking because I’m trying to think of ways that would deplete glycogen without causing damage to the muscle. As well, I’m trying to figure out how to build eccentric strength (think holding steady during an arm wrestle) without causing hypertrophy.
Sounds like you got your work cut out for you. Those are some pretty good questions for which i have no answer but you make some really cool points that will most likely take some time and research. Good luck!
Concentric-only exercise seems to do very little in the way of causing microtrauma; that’s why, for example, Westisders recommend sled-pulling on off days to facilitate recovery. I’ve personally had good success depleting glycogen while avoiding microtrauma (assuming lack of DOMS is a good indicator) by utilizing high rep, quick-tempo, machine-based circuit-type exercise routines that avoid going to failure. Used to do that shit before carbing up on Bodyopus. Regarding your second question, it sounds like you want isometric strength, not eccentric (assuming your goal truly is to be able to hold stady in an arm-wrestling match). Isometric training causes little if any hypertrophy anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Just train all the muscles in you arms and hands isometrically. You might have to get a bit creative.
If you want to deplete glycogen without inducing damage, why don’t you ride a bike. It would also be possible by doing high reps with little emphasis on the eccentric portion. Not sure why you would want to do this though. If you want to hold steady during an arm wrestle, that would be isometric strength (producing force without change in muscle length). You can train isometric strength by training isometrically. This has been well demonstrated. You gain strength primarily within the range of motion that you train.
Concentric exercise does cause microtrauma but not to the extent that eccentric contractions do. WSB and many others will use concentric only exercise as means of active recovery. Examples would be sled dragging, medicine ball throwing, wheelbarrow walking, arm over arm pulling, car pushing and walking/running in waist deep water. Some of these motions can also be done heavy to build strength like sled dragging and the arm over arm pull. These GPP movements are great for increasing strength, work capacity and recovery because they minimize microtrauma, allow for muscle movement and increase blood flow to the active muscles…Now, regarding your last question, it seems like your looking to build isometric strength rather than eccentric strength. So the best way to do this is to figure out what position you need isometric strength in and then load that position.
Man, you wrote something almost identical to my post, but just beat me to it. Good stuff, I imagine that it is nice to hear almost the same thing from two different people.
Great minds think alike, huh?
You got it buddy!
Yep, there’s definately some consensus here … thanks everyone! My example of arm-wrestling was just that, an example - I’m trying to figure out how to build that “isometric” strength for most of the body to improve my resistance strength without increasing my size. My question came up because I noticed a small difference between Poliquin and King - their negatives. Poliquin has you lower the weight, pause for a bit, lower again, pause. King tends to ask for a smooth lowering of the heavy negatives. Sounds like King’s method would cause more hypertrophy than Poliquin’s. Now, thanks to you guys, I’ve confirmed that concentric exercises are what I’m looking for for glycogen depletion (I’m looking for localized depletion). Sure, I’ll have to think of exercises for the bodyparts that only work certain muscles (concentric only chins is easy - go up and put your feet on a bench - but how about concentric-only bench?). Thanks a bunch.
Concentric only bench press motions can be done fairly easily with a variety of bench press machines, you’ll just have to experiment. Or you could build or buy a sled and do a bench press motion with handles or a bar connected to the sled. I don’t want to describe it so just read Dave Tate’s Drag your butt into shape article. I think that it is a must that you get a sled becasue you can do an infinate number of concentric only or isometric holds while using a sled. Check out Dave Tate’s site elitefts.com for more info on sled dragging.
To build isometric strength perform isometric exercises…In your case you’d push against the edge of a doorjamb, wall or whatever for arm wrestling strength…I’d use maybe something like 3 positions with 3-5 sets in each position with 6-8 second 90%+ maximal contractions. If you really want to understand how to set it up pick up a copy of supertraining as there’s a whole section on how to set up an isometric training cycle.