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Eccentric Muscle Contraction

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Updated July 16, 2009

Definition: An eccentric muscle contraction is a type of muscle activation that increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens. Eccentric contractions typically occur when a muscle opposes a stronger force, which causes the muscle to lengthen as it contracts.

Exercises That Cause Eccentric Contractions

Common exercises that cause an eccentric contraction include going down stairs, running downhill, lowering weights and the downward motion of squats, push ups or pull ups. Eccentric contractions are common to many sports in which you need controlled or resisted types of movements.

Eccentric contractions are associated with the onset of delayed muscle soreness. Eccentric muscle contractions also appear to be associated with greater muscle strengthening than when using concentric contractions.

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