pending hours at the gym to get into shape? You may no longer need to do so. A new study shows that doing a particular type of exercise not only saves time, but also gives a person more benefits.
The study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, analyzed the benefits of three types of dumbbell curl exercises — eccentric or lowering weights (lengthens the muscle), concentric or lifting weights (shortens the muscle), and a mix of both concentric and eccentric together.
The study found that eccentric exercises were the most effective compared to the other two, and took half the time taken by the third exercise.
“This latest study shows we can be far more efficient in the time we spend exercising and still see significant results by focusing on eccentric muscle contractions,” exercise and sports scientist Ken Nosaka from Edith Cowan University in Australia was quoted as saying by ScienceAlert.
“In the case of a dumbbell curl, many people may believe the lifting action provides the most benefit or at least some benefit, but we found concentric muscle contractions contributed little to the training effects,” Nosaka added.
For the study, the researchers employed four groups of people: 14 people each for concentric exercises, eccentric exercises, and concentric-eccentric exercises, and 11 people not doing any exercises.
The participants exercised twice a week for five weeks and did three sets of 10 repetitions.
All three exercises improved concentric (lifting) strength, but only the eccentric and concentric-eccentric exercises improved eccentric (lowering) and isometric (static) strength, the study found.
Simply put, the eccentric exercises provide the same results as the concentric-eccentric exercises, but take half the time. Also, the eccentric-only exercises led to the most muscle thickening.
The researchers opine that an ideal workout consists of using two hands to lift weights up into position and then switching to one hand for eccentric (lowering) actions such as bicep curls and overhead extensions.
Moreover, the researchers believe that the same principle of eccentric exercises can be used for other actions not requiring dumbbells and will be as effective. For instance, slowly lowering into a chair or putting hands on a wall and slowly pushing into it with bent arms, according to the outlet.
“Understanding the benefits of eccentric-focused training can allow people to spend their time exercising more efficiently,” Nosaka noted. “With the small amount of daily exercise needed to see results, people don’t necessarily even have to go to the gym – they can incorporate eccentric exercise into their everyday routine.”