vs Concentric Squat
  • Eccentric vs. Concentric Squat – Detailed Explanation and Benefits

    08 Dec 2020

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    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    The eccentric vs concentric squat debate is quite a popular topic among gym-rats and fitness freaks. These are among the best exercises for enhancing your quality of life, because it involves so many functional muscles. This article describes the various aspects and benefits of the two forms of squatting.

    Eccentric movement occurs when the muscles lengthen during downward motion. This mainly happens in an exercise that forces your muscles to stretch under a load.

    Main Benefits

    • Allow you to work with greater weight.
    • Eccentric contractions create more force but require less energy.
    muscles involved in squatting

    Eccentric Movement in a Squat

    • Takes place when your muscles lengthen during a contraction.
    • During an eccentric movement, you lower your body into the downward phase.
    • Your leg muscles stretch out to keep the descent controlled and slow.
    • This motion is similar to lowering a bucket using rope and pulley.

    Concentric Movement Definition

    Concentric movement takes place when the muscles shorten during an upward motion. This mainly happens in an exercise that forces your muscles to contract under a load.

    Main Benefits

    • Help in improving power, reaction time, and strength of the muscles.
    • Allows your body to repair the micro tears and rebuild stronger muscles.
    • It leads to a delayed onset of soreness in muscles and enhances muscle-recovery after an exercise.

    Concentric Movement in a Squat

    • Takes place when your muscles decrease during a movement.
    • During this movement, you raise your body and lift yourself into a standing position.
    • Your leg muscles contract and become short during a concentric motion.
    • This motion is similar to pulling a heavy rope attached to a boulder.

    Eccentric Vs Concentric Movements in a Squat: Explanation

    Muscles Involved in Squatting

    If you separate the components of a squat motion, you will realize that theyโ€™re quite complicated. However, if youโ€™re aware of the muscles, it becomes easy for you to exercise. You can focus on strengthening multiple muscles by using different techniques.

    Both squatting techniques involve several small and large muscles of the lower portion of your body. Some of the active muscles used are:

    eccentric movement definition
    • soleus muscles of the calf;
    • quadriceps;
    • gastrocnemius;
    • gluteus maximus;
    • hamstrings.

    Both concentric vs eccentric squat involves many small muscles in your foot, especially the posterior tibialis. Understanding the coordinated and complex movements can help you to maximize your benefits. Also, wearing good shorts for squats will allow you to move with ease.

    Muscle Actions During Squat

    During a squat, muscle actions take place in two different phases:

    1. During the concentric phase of squat, your body generates enough force for your muscles to work against opposing factors. It creates an upward movement.
    2. During the eccentric squats or lengthening phase, the tension in your muscles is lesser compared to the previous position. It helps you squat down.

    Sometimes isometric contractions occur when your muscles do not change in length but still experience tension. Even though this contraction does not involve any movement, it makes the muscles work. When you hold any particular squat position for some time isometric contraction takes place.

    In general, eccentric vs concentric squat go hand in hand. While planning a workout, people generally focus on the concentric phase. Nonetheless, one canโ€™t rule out the eccentric phase because it involves a large number of joints and muscles. The muscles act as breaks and slow down your movement to prevent sudden injury. Wearing squat shoes can also help you minimize the risk of injury.

    Should You Train Each Portion of Movement?

    Training each portion of the movement is more beneficial. Hereโ€™s the reason why:

    concentric movement definition
    • During the eccentric phase of squat, gravity works in your favor. It creates a powerful downward pull. Thus lifting a heavy object helps you to counteract the magnified force of gravity. It will also prevent your joints from getting injured. The muscles in the lower part of your body work together. Thus it becomes easy for you to control your speed when you squat down.
    • During the squat concentric phase, gravity doesnโ€™t work in your favor. The previously lengthened muscles start getting shorter as you rise. It provides enough force for an upward momentum to counteract gravity. This force helps you in maintaining ideal joint angles. It also prevents medial dislocations or joint injuries in the lower half of your body. The muscles in your abdomen and spine also produce an isometric- tension. It helps in stabilizing the upper half of your body as you rise upwards.


    Both the eccentric vs concentric squat techniques have their benefits and deserve equal attention. Studies show that both eccentric and concentric exercises are useful in enhancing muscular strength and specific bone mineral measurement especially in young women.

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