This is a follow up for those who have been training to master the pull up. How has your training been going? Have you been able to complete one unassisted pull up? How about two? Ten? (see part 1 here.) Whatever rep scheme you’re working on, I sincerely hope that you are getting better at staying in your lats and keeping your midline tight throughout the whole range of motion.
So now what? You’ve been completing the recommended exercises from part one, you’ve made some headway, you’re getting a little closer to your goal, but you need some extra “umpf” to get you over the edge and into your pull up promise land.
Part two is here to help! If you’re breezing through your hollow bodies and pull up shrugs, now is the time to start building up strength. What’s the best way to build up strength? Maybe weighted pull up shrugs? If hanging on the bar with your own bodyweight is challenging enough, any additional weight seems preposterous. Good news, one of the fastest ways to increase strength requires nothing more than the weight you’re already carrying. This free training tool is called “eccentric loading.”
What is eccentric loading? Great question. Every exercise has a concentric contraction and an eccentric contraction; let’s look at the bicep curl as an example, when you curl the weight up to your shoulder, this is the concentric contraction, when you lower the weight back to your waist, this is the eccentric contraction. Put in more simple terms, eccentric is the downward motion of any given exercise.
Why is eccentric loading beneficial? Eccentric loading requires less energy from the muscle AND more tension can be generated during eccentric contractions (Aaron Bubbico, 2010). So how does this help my pull up? If you can lift 100lbs for a one-rep max (1-RM) using a regular concentric motion, utilizing an eccentric contraction for 105lbs is not only possible, but also beneficial to breaking through plateaus. Simply put, you can work with heavier weights, use less energy, and get stronger! How’s that for a win?
There are three ways to incorporate eccentric loading into your training program, none of which should be used exclusively; they are submaximal, maximal, and supramaximal. Submaximal is the use of any weight below a one-rep max. Maximal refers to maximum amount of weight that can be lifted for an exercise (100%). Submaximal is the maximum amount of weight you can lift and then some (105-120%) (Jonathon Mike, 2015).
Maximal and submaximal training should be used sparingly (about once/week). Submaximal weight will vary and can be used more often with a wide range of time intervals during the eccentric phase. A simple way of adding submaximal eccentric training to any program you are currently using is to use a 3-5 second eccentric count, finishing with an explosive concentric motion. For example, if you squat down for a slow, controlled 3-5 seconds and explode up from the bottom of your squat, you just successfully incorporated an eccentric training protocol into your routine.
So before we move onto a complimentary workout routine, let’s go over some of the benefits we have discussed, and a few extra, when it comes to adding eccentric training to your routine.
- Increase StrengthRequires less energy
- Via Motor Unit recruitment and Hypertrophy
- Requires less energy
- Can use heavier weights
- Increased injury prevention
- Increase tendon strength and thickness
Please bare in mind the above is an incredibly short list of benefits; more were left off than were added to help streamline the theme of the article. This is the last general recommendation I will leave you; whatever your goal may be, slow and controlled, which includes eccentric loading, will never lead you astray. Most people do not want to use lighter weights because it is a blow to their ego, I’m not judging, I’ve been there too. Get more bang for your buck, spend your time wisely while training, let your ego sit at the front door of your training facility. This is your body, your muscles, your tendons, your ligaments, and your health that we are talking about and if you don’t take care of the little things, they will take care of you! So be good to the body you have been given, because it is incredible!
Be sure to check out the bibliography section for more great resources on eccentric training. Without further adieu, here are three training day examples to help you master your pull up. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions in the comments if you need any clarification.
*Do these before or after your workouts*
3x 10 Ring Rows (5 seconds down; 1 second up)
3x 10 Band Pull Aparts (1 second pull apart; 3 seconds return)
3x 12 Straight Arm Lat Pulldowns (1 second down; 3 seconds up)
3x 10 Straight Leg Raises (1 second up; 5 seconds down)
*Do these before or after your workout*
3x 8 Lat Pulldowns (3 seconds up; 1 second down)
3x 10 Seated Cable Row (3 seconds down; 3 seconds up)
3x 12 Db Reverse Fly (3 seconds down; 1 second up)(Note: use very light weight!)
3x 10 Face Pulls (3 seconds down; 1 second up)
*Do these before your workout*
3x 3 Pull Ups (5 seconds down; 1 second up)
3x 8 Bent over row (5 seconds down; 1 second up)
3x 10 Bicep Curls (3 seconds down; 1 second up)
3x 10 Tricep Extension (3 seconds up; 1 second down)
Aaron Bubbico, B. a. (2010). Eccentric Exercie: A Comprehensive Review of a Distinctive Training Method. Retrieved 2016 йил 02-05 from The University of New Mexico:https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/eccentricUNM.html
Henning, P. C. (n.d.). Research -The Many Faces of Eccentric Training.Retrieved 05 02, 2016, from AST Sports Science: https://ast-ss.com/research-the-many-faces-of-eccentric-training/
Jonathon Mike, C. M. (2015 йил 02). How to Incorporate Eccentric Training Into a Resistance Training Program. Retrieved 2016 йил 02-05 from https://www.nsca.com/uploadedFiles/NSCA/Resources/PDF/Education/Articles/NSCA_Classics_PDFs/how_to_incorporate_eccentric_training_into_a_resistance_training_program.pdf:
Nosratollah Hedayatpour, a. D. (2015). Physiological and Neural Adaptations to Eccentric Exercise: Mechanisms and Considerations for Training. Retrieved 05 02, 2016, from Hindawi Publishing Corporation: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/193741/
Roig M, O. K. (2009, 08). The effects of eccentric versus concentric resistance training on muscle strength and mass in healthy adults: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Retrieved 05 02, 2016, from NCBI- PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18981046
from Trevor’s professional blog: https://allthingsstrength.wordpress.com
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