When are your Gains Being Made?

When are your Gains being made during a lift?

So many of you know about my nerdy side and the love I have for the body and how it works! This smart kid stuff actually relates to those gains were all looking for in the gym! I am so excited to educate those of you who don’t already know what I am about to tell you!

I want to explain what negative lifts are. Let’s use the bicep curl as an example. The starting position is typically with the weight near your hips and your arms are at your side. The first movement is the pull or flexion of the elbow to bring the weight up to your shoulder area and the elbow is at its smallest angle. This movement is called the concentric motion which is simply the shortening of the bicep muscle. The next movement is to release the weight back to its starting position (the negative). This is the extension of the elbow or the eccentric movement. When do the gains actually happen? Would you say it’s during the shortening or lengthening of the muscle?

It is actually the eccentric or release and lengthening of the muscle when the gains are taking place. There are teeny tiny muscle fibers that are being torn in the muscle during the eccentric movement. The tears are what make us sore (when torn) and when hypertrophy (da gainz) is occurring! When we tear our muscle fibers and give them adequate time for recovery they rebuild and increase in size! So the next time you see someone yanking a 50 pound dumbbell to perform a bicep curl, watch their release. If they release slowly while keeping their form in check, they probably have a good idea about the two types of contractions I’ve mentioned. If however they drop it to the floor, you could educate them on when the gains are actually taking place, or simply learn what not to do from them!

Here’s where my advice comes in! When you are performing a lift of any kind, make sure you are concentrating on not just the push and pull but the release of the weight. Strength training involving BOTH eccentric and concentric contractions appears to increase muscular strength more than training with concentric contractions alone.