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Nothing Odd About Eccentric Exercise

When you hear the term “eccentric,” you may think of a quirky aunt or a piece of shabby but chic furniture. In the physical therapy world, however, this term has a much different and very important meaning. Eccentric exercise—active contraction of a muscle while it is lengthening—has gained popularity in recent years among both athletes and ptd0714-exercisethe therapeutic community.   To understand the difference between concentric and eccentric exercise, think of it this way: When you lift a weight, your muscle contracts and shortens—this is called concentric movement. But when you lower the weight, those same muscle fibers lengthen while still bearing the weight, creating eccentric movement.   Although new machines promising a better eccentric training experience constantly appear on the market, there are plenty of simple ways to incorporate eccentric movements into your therapeutic routine. For example, doing a slow squat and then rising will work your quad muscles eccentrically; slowly lowering a hand weight is also a good eccentric exercise. Even something as low-tech as walking down a hill is great eccentric training.   Studies conducted over the last decade have suggested that eccentric training can be especially helpful in treating the elderly and people recovering from surgical repairs, as well as those with degenerative disorders of the central nervous system and tendon injuries.
One study even found that a 12-week eccentric rehabilitation intervention was just as effective as surgery for people suffering from patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee), a common injury in athletes.   The great thing about utilizing eccentric exercise as part of your physical therapy is that it not only strengthens muscles but also improves their function. In fact, eccentric training uses less energy while building more muscle than concentric exercises.   So, whether you are a professional athlete or someone struggling through basic functions, such as sitting or climbing (or in this case, descending) a flight of stairs, the benefits of eccentric exercise are clear.
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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