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Three Types Of Muscle Contractions And How To Do Them

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Hey, Dr. McNamara here. And today I wanted to talk about the three different types of muscle contract. These contractions are called isometric contraction, eccentric contraction, and a concentric contraction. So the isometric, that means that the length of the muscle is actually staying the same throughout the contraction.

Then there is an eccentric contraction, which means that the muscle is actually lengthening throughout the contraction. And then there is a concentric type of contraction in which the muscle is shortening during that muscle contraction. So, and they all. These three different types of muscle contractions, all have different benefits.

I'm gonna talk about as well. So the first one, I'll give you an example and I'm just gonna hold this weight. This is just a isometric contraction. So it's me kind of squeezing the bicep and a bicep curl the length of the muscle isn't changing, but I am increasing the muscle activation and the neuromuscular control of that bicep muscle.

And I can do it at different lengths. So some of the benefits of this type of contract. Is you can strengthen weaker areas through isometric strengthening. So let's say at the bottom of my curl, I find it very, very difficult. I can hold this position and then work on just contracting and activating that muscle to get better control so I can get stronger during that range of motion.

Also, it's very, very great for symptoms of pain. If you're having any type of acute pain, isometrics, have an analgesic effect that can help reduce some of those symptoms of pain. the next type of contraction I wanna talk about is the eccentric. So that means that the muscle is lengthening during the contraction.

For example, if I wanted to only perform an eccentric type of contraction, I would take the weight out for the concentric portion of a bicep curl. So my muscle is lengthening. You can see it getting longer as I am still contracting it. Now this type of contraction is really good for building muscle fibers.

So hypertrophy. It's really good at building up blood flow into the area and actually putting some strain on the tissue. So we get some muscle hypertrophy, and some muscle growth in that area. So eccentrics, they do cause a little bit more damage. So you're more likely to have a little bit of delayed onset muscle soreness afterwards, but the best type for actually putting on more muscle mass.

Now the last one is the concentric. So that's when the muscle is shortening as I'm contracting it. And as you can see. Perform it like that. If I wanted to only perform concentric for bicep curl, for example, it would be just like that. So the length is changing, but it's getting shorter and this type of contraction is best for performance, you know, athletic ability.

Speed that kind of type of activities. It's more for building strength of movements, not as much for the muscle building, like the eccentric. So there's the three different types of muscle contractions for you and the different benefits that each one have, make sure to incorporate all of those types of muscle contractions for the entire body, for each muscle group to in order to have the most optimal exercise routine.

Thank you.

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