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Eccentric Training Without A Spotter

Unsurprisingly, eccentric training has become a hot topic within the fitness industry due to its many benefits across all populations. However, a common limitation to this training is that you often need another person, or spotter, to help you eccentrically overload specific exercises. For home users and solo gym-goers, eccentric training can be awkward and challenging to perform- unless you have an Exerfly.

You can do eccentric training without a spotter using special equipment such as the Exerfly. Using the eccentric motor or manipulating the exercise allows an eccentric overload without the dangerously heavy loads where you need a spotter.

Keep on reading if you want the full breakdown of eccentric training, why it is good for you and how it can be performed without spotters.

What Is Eccentric Training?

When exercising, your muscles are either contracting

  • Concentrically: muscle fibers shortening
  • Eccentrically: muscle fibers lengthening
  • Isometrically: muscle fibers stay the same

Eccentric contractions act as a braking mechanism. They control the lowering of weight while maintaining tension through the muscle.

The eccentric part of a movement is when the working muscles elongate and create tension. Eccentric training specifically targets this mode of contraction, which is hugely beneficial as you are much stronger eccentrically than concentrically, resulting in eccentric specific adaptations.

Eccentric Training Benefits

  • Low metabolic cost: Metabolic cost is an essential characteristic of motor activities that can influence daily activity and have health implications. Having a low metabolic cost means your body has to work less during the exercise spending less energy.
  • Increased flexibility by increasing muscle length: Eccentric exercises shift the length-tension relationship up and to the right, meaning you can produce more force at longer muscle lengths.
  • More force production: Force production has been directly linked to improved performance during jumping, weightlifting, cycling, sprinting, and golf swings – suggesting a better rate of force development can lead to better athletic performance.
  • Type IIX muscle fibers maintenance: Type IIX fibers are used for short explosive activities that require significant power and speed. Even inactive people need to be able to run quickly or lift something in an emergency.

In short, eccentric training strengthens the body's connective tissues, which is why it is beneficial for any fitness goal- whether that be strength, hypertrophy, endurance, or even rehabilitation.

How To Do Eccentric Training Without A Spotter

There are three ways you can emphasise the eccentric phase without a spotter.

Eccentric Squats

An eccentric squat focuses on where the muscles are lengthening, which is the lowering part of a squat. Eccentric squats are performed by adding an eccentric overload, which means more load than you could typically handle concentrically.

With Weight Releasers: Load the bar between 70-80% 1RM and the weight releasers to bring the total to 105-130% 1RM (it must be greater than your concentric 1RM for it to truly be eccentric overload). Descend slowly to the bottom position (it should take 3-6 seconds to reach the bottom). The weight releasers will fall off the bar as you drive through the concentric phase.

With Exerfly Motorised Platform: The eccentric motor applies an eccentric overload by using a specific percentage greater than the concentric output. For example, a 10% eccentric overload would add 10% more inertia than applied during the concentric. Here's how.

Press 'Start Windup' on the control panel in the Exerfly app. The device will beep faster and faster until the motor switches on and pulls you down. Ride the motor to the bottom position and push back to the top. You will feel the motor pull you harder back down. Stop in the squat position to finish the set.

Portable: The Exerfly Portable does not have an eccentric motor to overload the eccentric. Therefore, you need to get creative. The easiest way without a spotter is to delay the braking action during the eccentric. That means riding the first half of the eccentric phase without resisting and then quickly stopping the flywheel in the bottom half of the squat.

Eccentric Bench Press

The eccentric bench press emphasises the lowering phase to stimulate eccentric adaptations in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This has excellent applications for sports but also for pressing heavier loads in strength sports.

With Weight Releasers: Load the bar between 70-80% 1RM and the weight releasers to bring the total to 105-130% 1RM (it must be greater than your concentric 1RM for it to truly be eccentric overload). Descend slowly to the bottom position (it should take 3-6 seconds to reach the bottom). The weight releasers will fall off the bar as you drive through the concentric phase.

With Motorised Platform: Press 'Start Windup' on the control panel in the Exerfly app. The device will beep faster and faster until the motor switches on and pulls you down. Ride the motor to the bottom position and push back to the top. You will feel the motor pull you harder back down. Stop in the bottom of the bench press position to finish the set.

Portable: The same delayed braking action can be used when bench pressing as the squat. Ride the top half of the eccentric without much resistance before rapidly turning the bottom half eccentric phase into a concentric action.

Summary

To summarise, eccentric training without a spotter is achievable- and even easier when using devices such as Exerfly that allow you to track and analyse your progress. Exerfly is accessible to all populations. Thanks to its sensor and app, it can make your eccentric training fully customized to how much you want to get out of your workout. Just jump on a call with our friendly team for a free consultation and start your eccentric training today.

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