Evidence Based Guide to Eccentrics for Mobility

By djpope

November 25, 2018

dosage, eccentric, eccentrics, evidence based, flexibility, foam rolling, lengthening, medical literature, mobility, optimal, prescription, range of motion, research, sarcomere, Stretching

My 3 favorite interventions for improving mobility are stretching, foam rolling and eccentrics.  Stretching and foam rolling are both well known and utilized far and wide to gain mobility excellence everywhere.  The lesser known step brother of the mobility family is Mr. eccentric.

What Are Eccentrics and Why Should We Use Them For Improving Mobility?

Eccentrics consist of a muscle firing while it is lengthening.  Think of lowering a heavy barbell back down to the floor slowly after lifting it up.  The hamstring muscles are firing to control the load to the floor, but they are lengthening at the same time.  That’s an eccentric contraction.

What’s cool about eccentric contractions is that they’re known to help improve flexibility.  Unlike stretching, they actually change the muscular structure and add additional sarcomeres (units that provide muscular contraction in a muscle) in series to increase length of the muscle tissue.

They’re also phenomenal for building strength throughout a full range of motion at a specific joint.  For these reasons I love adding eccentrics as part of a comprehensive program to increase mobility.

Just like stretching and foam rolling, I am a big fan of searching the literature to see what’s the most effective dosage for eccentrics.  What dosage will maximize our return with eccentrics?  I made a quick video below to show what I’ve found in the literature and how to add eccentrics into your mobility routine:

If you enjoyed this short clip then I wanted to let you know it’s part of a much longer webinar series included with subscription into my Fitness Pain Free Insiders Online Mentoring Program:

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  • 7 Reasons Why Athletes Get Hurt in the Gym and What to do About It
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I lower everything slowly,

Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS, CF L1

Works Cited:

  1. The effects of eccentrics on lower limb flexibility: A systematic review BJSM 2012