Resistance Training Technique That’s Easy On The Joints

Strength training utilizes smooth and controlled movements, and when incorporating a technique called “negative” or “eccentric training,” it’s easy on the joints. The low impact of resistance training helps strengthen rather than stress your joints. 

Typically during a strength training repetition, we focus on powerfully lifting the weights. But that’s only half of the muscle-building equation. The lower phase of the lift, called the “negative,” or “eccentric” phase, is just as important, but often neglected. And, that’s a shame, because the negative portion provides unique muscle and strength building benefits that the lifting part doesn’t give.

The key to getting the most out of eccentric training is to slow the negative part of the movement down. For instance, if you’re thinking about doing a bicep curl, lift up two counts, then lower for four counts. That helps you control the weight all the way down before you start the next repetition.

Ready to get started? I’ve incorporated eccentric training into these six moves to amplify your results! 

PUSHUP

Lie facedown on the floor, hands underneath your shoulders, toes tucked underneath you. Take two counts to push yourself up into a plank position, then take four counts to lower down  as if you’re about to lower down into a pushup exercise…but instead, stay put.

BALANCE FLYE

Stand on your right leg, holding light weights. Lift your left leg off the floor behind you and balance. Start with your hands directly under your body, palms facing each other, then lift the weights and squeeze the shoulder blades together.

SQUAT

Standing with feet hip-width apart, stabilize the midsection and imagine knitting the ribcage in by squeezing your abdominals throughout the movement. Take four counts to squat down as if you’re going to sit in a chair behind you, sinking the hips back and keeping the knees parallel to the toes. With your weight in your heels, take two counts to use your glutes and core to push you back up to standing.

STABILIZATION BRIDGE

On your back with feet on the floor and knees bent, take two counts to go into ˙bridge” position, with your pelvis is tilted up toward the ceiling. Be sure to use your core to maintain this position rather than depending too much on your glute muscles. There should be a straight, angled line from your shoulder blades to your knees. From here, slowly lift your leg foot off the floor, and extend it straight up toward the ceiling. Take four counts to lower back down, and repeat on the other side.

SQUAT WITH FORWARD LIFT 

Stand with toes pointed slightly out, holding dumbbells just above your shoulders. Take four counts to bend your knees and lower the torso toward the floor. The trick is to engage the core and be sure you’re lowering directly up and down in this move instead of jutting your knees forward, keeping the shoulders stacked with the hips. You should feel a slight (but not uncomfortable) stretch in the inner thighs as you lower down into the squat.
Keep the knees in line with the toes. You may have to adjust your stance, depending on your flexibility. Don’t have an extreme turned-out position with your knees pressing forward or rolling in.
As you take two counts to push yourself to standing, push the weights up in an overhead press.

TRICEP KICKBACK

While standing, bend your elbows and take two counts to extend, reaching  your arms back behind, feeling a squeeze in the tricep. Take four counts to lower your wrists back down to the original position.

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