Sunday, 25 September 2011

Maximum Growth: Don’t just go through the range of motion…Squeeze the muscle!

A common mistake made when trying to buildIMG_334_edt muscle tissue is the lack of a full eccentric and concentric contractions of the muscle. The Concentric contraction or phase is noted as the range of motion that shortens the muscle fibers of a muscle. In other words it is the final squeeze of the muscle. The eccentric contraction or phase is the range of motion that lengthens the muscle fibers of a muscle. For example, the upward squeezing phase of a bicep curl would be termed as a concentric contraction and the decent of a bicep curl is known as the eccentric contraction.

Let’s stay on the subject of the bicep curl and the importance of squeezing the muscle to its full potential. When squeezing the muscle at its maximum point we are in essence shortening the muscle and recruiting as many muscle fibers as we possibly can at that point in time. If we simply just go through the range of motion we will never be challenging our muscles to obtain the growth we truly desire. By recruiting our maximum number of muscle fibers we are slowly and gradually building our strength, as we continue to build strength we can then increase the outside stimulus (weight). With increased weight or outside forces working against the muscle we can then begin to grow the muscle. In addition, the eccentric phase is just as important. Once again, if we are looking for growth we need to continue to stimulate the muscle through the entire set of an exercise. By slowing down the eccentric phase or decent we are continually placing a stress on the muscle. If we just drop the weight there is no progression towards building strength which in turn can eventually transfer to growth.
During your workout focus on isolating the muscle, squeezing the muscle to maximize its entire range of motion, and slowing down the eccentric phase to continue building strength and control. Sometimes you have to be humble and decrease the weight in order to see maximum growth. Remember that big swings in your back when performing bicep curls only gets you a stronger back, not bigger biceps. Best of luck and remember to squeeze.