Musculotendinous stiffness its relationship to eccentric isometric and concentric performance

This study investigated the relationship between musculotendinous stiffness and the ability .. values obtained as an elastic system will oscillate at its natural frequency indepen- .. to eccentric, isometric, and concentric performance. J. Appl. The Revolutionary New Warm-Up Method to Improve Power, Performance “ Musculotendinous stiffness: Its relationship to eccentric, isometric, and electromyography, and mechanomyography during concentric isokinetic muscle action. Vertical stiffness, jump performance and athletic performance were assessed number of passive stretches necessary to alter musculotendinous stiffness. . its relationship to eccentric, isometric, and concentric performance.

In this post, I will discuss the what the research says about eccentric overload and eccentric focused training as well as different means of overloading the eccentric phase of movement. First, lets talk about the tri-phasic nature of movement.

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Nearly every movement in sport consists of three phases: When we swing our arms down and load the hips in a jump, we are applying tension to our muscles as they lengthen. This is known as the eccentric phase of the jump. At the bottom of the jump, we are transitioning from the lowering phase to the rising stage of the jump and are still applying large amounts of muscular tension, while our joint angles and muscle lengths remain unchanged.

This is an example of an isometric phase of movement. Finally, we have the concentric phase of movement that most are familiar with in which our muscles contract and we apply tension as our muscles shorten.

These three phases can be seen in all nearly all movement, yet we commonly only focus on the concentric phase in our training. The eccentric phase of movement, however, is crucial as it is during this phase of movement that we store large amounts of energy in our connective tissues that we can then utilize for greater concentric power if we are strong enough to effectively decelerate and reapply this force.

If we are weak in this phase of movement, not only will we be inefficient in transferring the energy from the eccentric phase, but we put ourselves at a greater risk of injury.

Performance Benefits of Eccentric Training includes: Reduced risk of Injury Improvement in strength and power output Greater movement efficiency Greater Muscular Hypertrophy Injury Prevention Benefits Eccentric focused exercises have commonly been prescribed as a method for the treatment of a number of injuries, specifically overuse injuries such as tendinopathies in which you have chronic inflammation or pain in the soft-tissue that surrounds your muscles and joints [].

Eccentric training has been found to be a highly effective method for improving the size and quality of soft-tissue, reducing pain in the affected limbs and improving return to play success [3, 5, 7, 8]. They say that the best way to treat an injury is to prevent it, yet despite the great rehabilitative effects of this modality of training, it is commonly overlooked as a preventative tool. The majority of injuries in sport happen eccentrically during decelerative movement.

If we cannot handle the amount of force we are attempting to absorb eccentrically, the body will compensate to deal with the stress which can then lead to injuries. It is logical that if we have the eccentric strength to handle greater forces as our muscles lengthen and we improve the quality of our connective tissue we would be less likely to be injured.

While there are countless methods and strategies for improving sports performance, some better than others, it is important that we address eccentric strength. Eccentric training, specifically eccentric overload, has been shown to generate greater motor unit recruitment specifically that of fast-twitch muscle fibers as well as the rate of force development leading to greater amounts of generated mechanical tension throughout the muscle [6, ].

These neurological improvements along with changes in the elastic properties of the musculotendinous unit like contribute to the increases in speed, power, strength and change of direction ability found in research on the subject. An athlete with greater movement efficiency, strength and power is sure to perform better in their sport. Increased Muscular Hypertrophy The three main stimuli for stimulating muscular hypertrophy are Mechanical Tension Muscular Damage Metabolic Stress Eccentric training has been proposed as a effective method of improving muscular hypertrophy as, in addition to significantly increasing mechanical tension, eccentric training yields greater amounts of muscular damage as the Z-Disks that connect sarcomeres are essentially being pulled apart [6, 17, ].

Furthermore, eccentric training is less energetically demanding than traditional training means [6, 17, 34]. Combine that with the metabolic stress that could be yielded by the increased amount of time under tension with slower movement and you have an environment that is highly conducive to muscular hypertrophy and would produce a lesser energy demand making achieving a caloric surplus easier to achieve. Improved Mobility Lasting changes in mobility require not just the stretching of the muscle and connective tissue as the improvements in range of motion seen with these methods tend to be short lasting.

To create lasting change in range of motion, we must move our bodies through the new-found range of motion and eventually add load through the range of motion. Movement creates neuromuscular activation of the stretched muscles which essentially teaches our bodies how to use that range of motion.

Greater loads generate greater amounts of neuromuscular activation and is a necessary step in being able to keep this change in range of motion. Eccentrically overload exercises creates muscular stretch and very high amounts of muscular activation which both contribute to lasting changes in mobility. Furthermore, it has been proposed that eccentric contractions lead to what is known as sarcomerogenesis, or the generation of new sarcomeres muscle cells essentially lengthening the muscle itself [].

Methods of Eccentric Overload: There are various methods of applying eccentric overload including: Submaximal slow repetitions Changes in exercise choice between eccentric and concentric movement Eccentrically overloaded plyometrics While all of these methods are effective, there are pros and cons to each.

Submaximal Slow Repetitions This method can be great for those who are new to eccentric based training and is more easily incorporated into training programs then other methods.

Musculotendinous stiffness: its relationship to eccentric, isometric, and concentric performance.

Furthermore, from my own personal experience, I have found this method to be very effective in reinforcing technique. The slow and controlled nature of this method requires athletes to truly own their positions throughout the movements and prevents compensations that occur when athletes become too dependent on bouncing out of the bottom of a movement. Furthermore, any errors in form would be highlighted by the slow movement and can be addressed by a coach.

While this method has many benefits, more elite athletes may require greater methods of eccentric overload to stimulate further improvements. This method involves the supramaximal loading of a movement, such as our back squat, and lowering it as slowly as possible to pins or releasing the weight through the use of such implements as eccentric hooks as seen in the video below: While this method is highly effective, the supramaximal nature of it inherently comes with an increased risk of injury, especially for those who are inexperienced in eccentric training and should therefore be reserved for higher level athletes who have had time to develop a greater foundation of strength and eccentric capacity.

Musculotendinous stiffness: its relationship to eccentric, isometric, and concentric performance.

Changes in Exercise from Eccentric to Concentric This is another effective method that can be utilized to create eccentric overload without the need for a spotter. One effective method is to use a slow, controlled unilateral movement through the eccentric phase and then switching to a bilateral movement during the concentric. Examples would include controlling a single leg squat down to a box and then standing back up with both legs as seen below: Other examples is doing a single-leg Romanian deadlift during the descent and then returning up with both legs or doing a single-arm push-up to a regular push-up.

Another example of this method is switching the biomechanical advantage of the movement. J Strength Cond Res,20 4 Can J Appl Physiol,30 1, doi: J Strength Cond Res,20 4, doi: J Strength Cond Res,17 4 J Strength Cond Res,18 3, doi: J Strength Cond Res,16 3 J Strength Cond Res,22 5, doi: J Strength Cond Res,26 12, doi: J Sports Med Phys Fitness,53 2 Acta Physiol Scand,3, doi: Exerc Sport Sci Rev,12, J Appl Physiol,76 6 J Appl Physiol,32 4 Med Sci Sports Exerc,10 4 Acta Physiol Scand,4, doi: Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol,22 7 Eur J Appl Physiol,55 5, doi: Med Sci Sports Exerc,28 11 ,