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Recommendations for Movement Preparation in Your Acceleration Training

Optimizing Sports Performance: The Power of Concentric, Eccentric, and Reactive Training

Concentric strength is pivotal for athletic performance due to several key reasons:

In the captivating and dynamic realm of sports performance and injury prevention, we delve into a domain where science, technique, and passion for sports converge. Within this vast universe, three concepts emerge as fundamental pillars: concentric, eccentric, and reactive stimuli. These capacities are not only crucial for unlocking athletes’ maximum potential but also for safeguarding them against injuries that could thwart their goals and aspirations. Let’s delve into each of these pillars and explore their vital importance in today’s sports landscape.

Concentric Stimuli: Accelerating Towards Success

Concentric capacity, prominent in vertical and horizontal acceleration actions, propels the athlete forward with strength and determination. From a neuromuscular perspective, this type of stimulus involves the coordinated and synchronized activation of motor units to generate muscular force while the muscle shortens. Picture the sprinter explosively propelling from the starting blocks or the high jumper soaring majestically over the bar. In both scenarios, the central nervous system orchestrates a ballet of signals to recruit specific motor units, triggering powerful and dynamic contractions.

An emblematic example of this capacity is found in Olympic weightlifting, such as the snatch and clean and jerk, where concentric capacity is tested by lifting heavy weights from a static starting position, as showcased in this video.

Concentric strength is a cornerstone of athletic performance for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is essential for power and speed generation in a wide range of sports activities such as sprints, jumps, throws, and strikes. The stronger an athlete’s concentric capacity, the greater their ability to perform explosive movements effectively during the onset of motion.

Additionally, concentric strength enhances performance in specific functional movements, such as weightlifting or pushing an opponent in combat sports. Greater concentric strength enables the execution of these movements with increased efficiency and power.

Moreover, muscular fatigue resistance is also enhanced by concentric strength. Athletes with good concentric capacity can maintain high force production over time, enabling them to sustain optimal performance during prolonged competitions or intensive training sessions.

Finally, a strong and balanced musculature, resulting from adequate concentric training, helps prevent musculoskeletal injuries by maintaining joint stability during demanding movements.

Eccentric Stimuli: Mastering Deceleration

Eccentric capacity, often overlooked, plays an equally crucial role in sports performance. This type of stimulus is essential in deceleration actions with directional changes, allowing the athlete to brake, control, and cushion movement effectively. Neuromuscularly speaking, during an eccentric contraction, the muscle lengthens while generating force. Think of a basketball player abruptly cutting towards the hoop, or a soccer player making a sudden turn to evade a defender. In both cases, the nervous system triggers a precise cortical response, allowing motor units to activate sequentially to dissipate kinetic force and prevent injuries.

An illustrative example of this capacity is found in controlled descent during squats, where the leg muscles lengthen while working to support the descending weight, as shown in the following link.

Eccentric strength, although often overlooked, plays a crucial role in sports performance for several important reasons. Firstly, it enables control of deceleration and direction changes, improving agility and responsiveness in game situations. Additionally, it helps prevent musculoskeletal injuries by strengthening muscles and tendons, increasing their capacity to withstand external loads and protect joints during demanding movements. Moreover, eccentric strength can be up to 50% greater than concentric strength in some muscles, making it an important component for increasing total body strength. Furthermore, it contributes to performance optimization in long-duration activities by reducing muscular fatigue and conserving energy.

Reactive Stimuli: Driving Sprint Efficiency

Reactive capacity, vital for sprint efficiency, involves the body’s ability to harness energy stored in elastic tissue during rapid and explosive movements. From a neuromuscular perspective, this type of stimulus requires a rapid and adaptive response from the central nervous system to coordinate muscle activation in fractions of a second. Imagine the speed runner maximizing the elastic rebound of their muscles and tendons with every powerful stride. In this scenario, the brain and spinal cord communicate efficiently to synchronize muscle contraction and explosive impulse.

A practical example of this stimulus is found in plyometric exercises, such as box jumps, where the body undergoes a rapid and reactive stimulus triggering an explosive muscular response, as shown in this link.

Plyometric training focuses on developing explosive strength, power, and reactive capacity of the body through rapid and explosive movements. It involves using exercises that involve rapid stretching followed by explosive concentric muscle contractions, such as jumps, medicine ball throws, and rebound exercises. This form of training is particularly important for improving running efficiency for several reasons. It increases muscle strength and power, improves muscle and tendon elasticity, develops the posterior kinetic chain, and trains cadence and stride length.

In summary, the balanced integration of concentric, eccentric, and reactive stimuli in a sports training program is essential for maximizing athletic performance and preventing injuries. By understanding and applying these principles, athletes can achieve new levels of excellence in their sports discipline, maximizing their potential and prolonging their athletic career in a healthy and sustainable manner.

For more detailed information on this topic and to discover how to apply these principles in your own training, we invite you to enroll in our membership through the following link.

 

Author

Carlos Wheeler

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