Ever go into a gym and see someone moving at, what I’d politely call, a frantic pace? I think we all know that person. The one soaked in sweat, grunting loudly to make sure everyone knows just how hard they’re working out, and always, always, ALWAYS sprinting through their strength training.
While we all might know that person, it is CRUCIAL to your progress not to become that person. Why? Because that person, despite their best intentions, is wasting their time. They’re wasting their workout. They’re wasting their reps.
By rushing through sets, moving way too quickly, and not taking the time to properly engage the correct muscles for every exercise, that person is losing 50% of their gains.
Imagine going to the gym every single day and only getting 50% of the results you want. Who would ever accept that?! Would you go to work 5 times a week for 50% of your paycheck?! Of course not.
In the video below, I highlight the correct way to approach all strength training exercises.
What’s the difference?
In every strength training move, whether upper, lower, or full body, there are two crucial moments of muscle engagement. The eccentric and concentric engagement. Concentric is the explosive raising of the weight, i.e. pulling your body forward with the TRX or lifting a dumbbell during a bicep curl. Eccentric is the slow, tension filled lowering of your body or the dumbbell, done to stretch the muscle and maintain tension and engagement for as long as possible.
In the first exercise, I'm only getting the concentric engagement. I'm only doing 50% of the work and getting 50% of the results.
You need both eccentric and concentric muscle contractions to achieve 100% muscle growth. The person in the gym racing through their exercises will never achieve more than 50% at best.
So, how do we ensure we get 100% of the results for our effort? Say it with me …
It is totally fine to have a controlled but explosive movement when you push or pull a weight I.e. bench press, lat pull, in the concentric portion of the exercise. But, it is CRUCIAL to also return the weight to its starting position in a slow, controlled fashion to achieve proper muscle engagement and growth through the eccentric contraction.
My advice? Coordinate your breathing with the motion. In your mind, or out loud if you can, literally count to 3 or 5 and see how long it takes you to eccentrically lower the weight. Increasing the time you eccentrically lower the weight is actually a great way to track progress.
An added bonus? Slowing down your motion ensures that you’re using the proper muscles for each exercise, which aides progress and minimizes the risk of injury.
Are you moving too fast in your workout? Are you losing 50% of your progress? Try slowing down the eccentric motion of each exercise to a 3 to 5 count and you’ll instant increase your output.
For more information, click the link below to book your first In Home Personal Training Session!