Team sports athletes who can get an edge on game day by jumping higher than an opponent will be interested to hear about a training protocol examined in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. Researchers had 12 volunteer train 3 times a week for 7 weeks by adhering to either eccentric or concentric cycling.
A concentric contraction shortens the muscle, like when you’re curling a barbell toward the up position. An eccentric contraction lengthens the muscle. This happens when you try to decelerate an external force, such as putting the barbell down on the floor gently instead of allowing it to drop.
After being tested in trials of one-leg hopping, countermovement jumps and concentric cycling, scientists determined that eccentric cycle training improved leg spring stiffness and maximum power on multi-joint efforts, enabling higher jumping.
True Strength Moment: This is a relatively simple exercise to work into your routine and might be best applied during the off-season. Even if it doesn’t help you out-jump the competition, eccentric cycling might be an effective way to change up a stale cardio routine.