Avoiding Injury via Eccentric Strength
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to our West Side Comprehensive Chiropractic Care blog which we manage with the intent of supporting healthy and pain free living. If your new to us, our NYC Chiropractic care clinic’s focus is upon pain management, on strengthening programs, injury prevention, postural correction, ergonomics and flexibility
While our primary mission is to get you pain relief as soon as possible and increase mobility, we feel obligated where possible to help you avoid injury in the first place. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do today with a discuss centered upon “eccentric strength”.
What is eccentric strength and why does it matter?
Eccentric strength is the strength associated with muscle lengthening, as opposed to concentric strength, which is the strength associated with muscle contraction. To illustrate what this means, imagine a bicep curl: we use concentric strength to contract the bicep and raise the dumbbell, but in order to lower the dumbbell in a controlled fashion, we need eccentric strength. Without it, gravity would cause the dumbbell (and forearm) to collapse down rapidly and without control.
This simple example highlights some of the key functions of eccentric strength more generally. During eccentric movements, muscles act as shock absorbers and braking systems against external forces such as gravity, and the importance of this function for the prevention of falls and injuries can’t be overstated.
Eccentric strength of the knee extensors, for example, is what allows us to maintain control as we walk downhill or down a flight of stairs, providing a brake against gravity taking over. In addition to preventing falls, this ability to use muscles for deceleration and controlled movement also reduces force experienced by joints, providing yet another means of avoiding injury.
How to train for eccentric strength
Despite its importance, eccentric strength is a less intuitive concept than concentric strength, which may explain why it’s so often missing from training regimens. To help overcome this barrier, the links throughout this newsletter are intended to provide more information on eccentric strength and how it plays a role in overall stability and injury avoidance.