Ever find yourself wondering how you can get more out of quad exercises?
Maybe you’re not sure what eccentric exercises are, or how they work for quads.
Let’s have a look at some answers to these questions and more.
Eccentric quad exercises, otherwise known as negative reps, can be hard to do, and even harder to find effective guides on how to do them.
This article will help you understand what eccentric quad exercises are, what some of the best quad exercises for eccentric training are, and some tips on how to do them correctly and effectively.
Eccentric exercises are contractions of a muscle while lengthening.
This type of exercise is typically used in rehabilitation after an injury, but can also be used for muscle building.
One example of an eccentric exercise is lowering a dumbbell during a bicep curl.
This causes your muscle fibers to work harder since they have more weight against them when going down rather than going up.
If you wanted to add an eccentric component into a quad-focused workout routine, check out these three different types of eccentric leg exercises!
You don’t need any equipment besides your own body weight and a smooth surface to perform these simple moves.
If you want to build bigger legs even faster—and improve athletic performance at the same time—you might want to try adding some or all of these movements into your workout routine.
Eccentric drop squats When it comes to increasing eccentric strength, there’s no better exercise than an eccentric drop squat.
With good form, you’ll lower yourself using only your glutes and hamstrings.
Complete five reps on one side before switching over to the other side. Start with just one set per side if necessary; over time, increase reps as well as how many sets you complete each session.
Eccentric single-leg back extensions Next, you’re going to do a single-leg back extension. Instead of performing both legs together, focus on only extending your left leg back behind you.
Make sure to keep your torso straight so that it stays in line with your extended leg. Lower yourself slowly until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring at about 45 degrees from vertical, then return to the start position.
Perform 10 reps before moving onto the right leg.
Eccentric calf raises After doing eccentric drop squats and single-leg back extensions, you’ll want to finish off your eccentric leg workout with calf raises.
For one round, raise only your left foot off of the ground (still keeping knees bent) while keeping your toes pointed forward (don’t turn toes inward toward each other). Ever wondered why it is hard to build your calves?
Read more here.
Slowly lower yourself halfway down, hold for two seconds and lift yourself back up again.
Try not to let either knee extend past your toe or point downward beyond 90 degrees throughout the entire movement.
The Mayo Clinic suggests performing 15 repetitions total at least twice a week in order to strengthen eccentrically and help prevent injuries like Achilles tendonitis; however, you should never sacrifice form in favor of completing more repetitions.
Check out the best leg exercises to do during pregnancy!
Slow-Motion Reps To Build Muscle. Eccentric exercise is a type of strength training that targets your muscles’ lengthening, or negative, phase.
The conventional model of weightlifting makes use of concentric (shortening) and eccentric (lengthening) muscle contractions, which work together to move heavy loads.
For example, if you push against an immovable object like a wall or dumbbell rack with your arm extended, then slowly lower it back down towards your side over time, you’re performing an eccentric movement that’s comparable to lowering a weight after doing a standard bench press.
During eccentric exercises, muscles naturally undergo more stress than during their concentric counterparts.
Despite being widely utilized by professional athletes, eccentric exercises have remained relatively unknown compared to their flashy cousins in regular gymgoers’ routines.
Unfortunately for these participants, though, eccentrics are far more effective at building size and strength when done correctly in proper amounts.
Building up toughness takes both time and repetition—just ask anyone who’s ever visited a bodybuilding forum!
Luckily for you, there are lots of great ways to get started incorporating slow-motion reps into your workout routine right away using different pieces of equipment depending on what movements feel most comfortable for you based on past experience in weightlifting.
You can also try incorporating them into certain compound lifts, too!
Eccentric exercises, or negatives, are an excellent way to build muscle.
Negative resistance training focuses on forcing muscles into lengthening under load, which recruits more motor units (muscle fibers) than normal training can.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, eccentric leg exercises (or eccentric quad exercises) are effective for improving leanness.
By focusing on negative actions instead of positive ones, your body is forced to work harder during every exercise—which leads directly to increased muscle growth via increased satellite cell activity.
While it’s important that you maintain proper form when performing eccentrics, it’s also important that you engage in progressive overload by gradually adding weight over time.
A typical eccentric workout would consist of 3 sets of 8–12 repetitions per set, with each exercise being performed at a 2-second lowering phase followed by a 4-second lifting phase.
This results in approximately 7 seconds of lowering followed by 7 seconds of lifting for each repetition.
For example, if you were doing drop lunges with 75 pounds of added weight, you would descend slowly toward the floor before lifting yourself back up using your quads.
Be sure to allow about 1 minute between sets so that you have enough energy to complete them fully.
Eccentric quad exercises can be done using a variety of equipment. The simplest way is through bodyweight movements such as squats, lunges, leg presses, and calf raises.
Another method is adding weight via weighted vests or dumbbells. Other options include Smith machines, barbells, kettlebells, cables, or pulley systems.
No matter what equipment you choose to use for your eccentric quad exercises, it’s important that you never sacrifice form for added weight.
Not only do you risk injuring yourself, but your muscles will also fail to grow as effectively as they would with lighter weights and proper form.
For example, if you were doing eccentric lunges with a 45-pound plate on each side instead of just your own body weight, there’s a chance that you could lose focus and start taking bigger steps than normal.
This would not only put extra strain on your joints and ligaments but could potentially decrease motor unit activation by trying to perform too many repetitions at once.
Have a look at this video where I teach you how to use eccentrics to finally master the pistol squat!
The next 5 examples of exercises are the best for your quadriceps muscles.
And just by focusing on the eccentric phase of the exercise, you are going to eliminate your quadriceps weakness and build muscle size in the front of the thigh, right where you want it!
By slowing down the lowering phase while still going through the full range of motion you will experience greater muscular fatigue stressing your muscles in different ways than you’ve put them through.
First though, here are my 5 best leg exercises with kettlebells!
If you’re trying to build quad strength, eccentric exercises might be a good fit for you.
Learn more about leg press machines in general, and also how they can help build stronger quads using eccentric lifts.
For leg presses specifically, try to complete 8-12 reps in one set. As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before beginning—this goes double if you have an existing condition or injury!—and be sure to begin at low weights until you are familiar with the proper form.
Squats are a great way to build strength in your legs, particularly in your quads.
Barbell squats are a great place to start if you want to strengthen your quad muscles.
To perform barbell squats, stand with your feet slightly apart with a barbell held on top of your shoulders.
Slowly bend at your knees as if you’re about to sit down on a chair. As you squat, keep your back straight and chest up.
Only go down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor; ensure that you don’t bend forward too much or allow your torso to lean backward.
Pause for one second before slowly standing back up.
Take a seat on your leg extension machine with your back straight, extend both legs out fully in front of you, and grab onto either side of your seat.
Lower both legs down for two seconds, and then bring them back up again using only one second.
This is considered one rep; aim for ten per set. If that becomes too easy, add resistance with ankle weights or a weight vest.
To do a Zercher squat, place a barbell into the crooks of your elbows, similar to a front squat position.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hips back.
Once you have assumed a squatting position, lower yourself down until you’re at 90 degrees.
Pause for a second or two before exploding up back to standing. That’s one rep.
Barbell lunges are one of many leg exercises that will help you build strong, powerful quads.
Lunges can be done using either a barbell or dumbbells; if using weights, don’t go over 30 percent of your body weight.
To perform a lunge with a barbell, stand straight with your legs hip-width apart and hold both ends of a barbell at arm’s length in front of you.
Take one step forward with your right foot (keep both feet facing forward) then bend both knees until they’re almost at 90 degrees (this is also called full depth).
The goal is to lower yourself until your rear knee touches the floor; however, it should never actually touch.
You want to avoid putting too much stress on your knee joint so make sure not to let it collapse past 90 degrees.
Step back up by pushing off with your left leg first followed by your right. Alternate legs for 20 repetitions on each side.
Eccentric exercises build strength, as well as muscle mass. An eccentric movement is a downward movement of the weight.
For example, if you were doing bicep curls with dumbbells, lowering those weights would be an eccentric movement; raising them would be a concentric movement.
An eccentric exercise for one muscle will always correspond with a concentric exercise for another muscle.
So, for example, eccentric leg extensions work your quads eccentrically while your hamstrings are working concentrically. The result? Bigger legs!
You can also do eccentric resistance band training or your own unique variation—for example, standing on one foot while squatting down to touch it with your opposite hand counts as an eccentric exercise because it’s hard on both your quads and glutes.
Of course, eccentric leg exercises aren’t just good for making your muscles bigger; they also improve flexibility in addition to increasing strength.
A lot of studies show that eccentric training promotes faster hypertrophy than regular lifting (concentric only) so eccentric exercises are commonly associated with size gains, but it may not be worth discounting regular lifting altogether…yet!
More research needs to be done before we can understand exactly how much better eccentric training really is than regular lifting at promoting hypertrophy.
Eccentric exercises help to strengthen your muscles while also improving their endurance.
This is a great way for people who have suffered an injury in a particular area of their body to start rebuilding muscle.
By continuing with eccentric exercise, even when you aren’t physically injured, you can keep your muscles from weakening further while building muscle that will increase your overall health and allow you to be more active on a daily basis.
Eccentric quad exercises are particularly helpful for areas where extra strength is needed.
Muscles are made up of smaller fibers called sarcomeres, which are then linked together into long chains by proteins called actin and myosin.
These linkages are what create contractions between two different sarcomeres that extend past each other so they line up parallel.
When a new signal comes along telling one side of a sarcomere to bend toward another, it will take some force.
If there isn’t enough resistance built into your muscle, however, it may not be able to do its job properly—and injuries can result.
As you go through eccentrics exercises for squats or lunges, for example, you place greater emphasis on lowering yourself or moving forward than pushing upward or backward during concentric movements.
Pushing through pain is part of any workout, but allowing too much strain increases the risk for injuries like pulled muscles or tendons—your legs are generally strong compared to other areas of your body, but they won’t stand up well under undue pressure.
Eccentric movements don’t just relieve stress during exercise; they minimize it afterward as well by reducing inflammation and allowing your body to heal at its own pace.
Exercise is important, and it’s even more important to do it in a way that works for you, with equipment that works for you.
Before we finish up though get your free copy of my EBook Train wherever the f*ck you want.
I’ll show you everything you need to know about training with resistance bands and how they can replace the gym forever!
If you’re not convinced check out this video showing you how to train your legs with resistance bands!