Eccentric Strengthening: Important In Tendon Rehabilitation
Eccentric strengthening exercises are regularly used in the rehabilitation of sport injuries. An eccentric contraction is the motion of a muscle while it is lengthening under load. Some examples of activities involving an eccentric contraction include the action of walking down a steep hill or resisting the effects of gravity while lowering a heavy object.
With a concentric contraction which is a contraction where the muscle shortens under load, this form of contraction is considered to mainly stress and strengthen the muscle belly component of your muscle. An eccentric contraction however is considered to stress and thus strengthen the ‘white’ component of the muscle tendon complex therefore loading the tendon tissue of the working muscle unit.
Eccentric Strengthening And The Athlete
Eccentric muscle contractions are known for producing high forces with low-energy cost. Eccentric contractions actually use less energy, even though they create more force than concentric contractions. Using eccentric muscle contractions in training focuses on slowing down the elongation / lengthening of the muscle which can lead to:
- Stronger muscles,
- Faster muscle repair
- Increased metabolic rate
All of this aligns eccentric strengthening exercises for rehabilitative functions.
With eccentric contractions where the load exceeds the force developed by the muscle, the exercise is referred to as “negative work” hence eccentric strengthening is sometimes also called called “negatives” because the muscle is absorbing energy in this loaded position.
Eccentric Exercise And DOMS
Eccentric contractions during exercise may result in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) however the eccentric contraction itself does not cause muscle injury or damage. These eccentric contractions during unaccustomed exercise are a frequent cause of post exercise muscle pain. However adaptation to eccentric exercise occurs, making the muscle less vulnerable to such pain on subsequent performance of eccentric exercises to the same muscle group.
Simply put, completing repeated bouts of eccentric training per week will result in less DOMS after subsequent workouts as your muscle complex adapts to the training.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Eccentric Strengthening In The Rehabilitation Of Tendinopathy? should consult his or her physiotherapist, personal trainer or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.