Eccentric Muscle Training for Strength Size and Speed: Isokinetic CLASSIC

David Barr, Muscle and Fitness NSCA National Conference
2009 with Bert Davidson, president of Exerbotics. You may have seen this in
the IHRSA article IHRSA-online. This stuff is VERY cool cutting-edge equipment.
Bert you tell us more about it? BD: Absolutely this is the first
computer-controlled strength equipment ever built, Basically there are no
weights no pneumatics. Everything is run by robotic electric motors and computers. It primarily does some amazing things: 1) it
overcomes all in inefficiencies of weight training -there’s no
sticking points, it allows maximal muscle recruitment throughout the entire range of motion, providing
a really superior effective workout. Barr: Excellent! Alright i’m going to try a few
reps and let’s see how it goes! BD: we’ve already said David’s range of motion up
here so go ahead start machine you’ll come back and rest for about three
seconds and David you can get into it. The machine automatically adjusts
David’s own biomechanics of strength levels. It’s fun to watch on this side –
he’s getting immediate feedback on the screen. One thing very noticeable is he’s
getting negative lifts on the eccentric side which is automatically happens
because it’s conforms with the body’s capabilities. David you act like you’re feeling that. Barr: A little bit, yeah!
BD: Yeah you have to breathe a little often than this, because you’re under constant tension. Barr: [to BD]If you want to leave the machine running. This is what’s happening, I’m just
pressing against this it’s moving by itself. So I can press as hard as I want
both positive and negative movements, it’s going to move completely on its own. And this is
actually what I was trying to replicate with “iron” [aka gravity resistance] in the “Train For Pain” article
which is with the August [2009] issue of Muscle and Fitness. So thanks very much, and we’re
going to take a look at the screen right now. So this is the heads-up display for the
Exerbotics seated bench press, and you’re seeing it just before I perform
my first concentric or positive rep on the bench press. So essentially the bar is
at my chest, and I’m going to be pressing it away as hard as I can. Now let’s take
a second look at that and you’ll see a yellow line being produced, and this is
happening in real time as I’m performing the rep, and it represents the Force
Output, or essentially how hard I’m pressing against the bar. Now let’s take
a close up view and see why this is important. Looking at the yellow line -the
higher the line the greater the Force Output, or strength, at any given second
of the concentric rep. You’ll notice that it’s not flat, which represents our
natural strength curve on the bench press. You’re weaker at the beginning , when
the bar is close to your chest, and at the end, which is full lock out [aka extension]. The middle of
the rep is when you’re strongest, and Exerbotics is one way to help train that
portion of the movement. Now let’s take a look at the eccentric, or negative
portion, of the rep. So you just saw the real-time Force Output curve for the
negative portion of the rep, and we’re now looking at the close up. The peak is
much higher than on the positive portion of the rep, meaning that the strength, or
Force Output, is greater just as you’d expect. But what’s amazing is just how
much higher it really is! In this example the peak concentric force was around 220
pounds while the peak negative was 275. Now think about how much of the strength
you’re NOT using when you train with traditional weights, and think of the
potential benefits if you could maximally train each portion of the rep.
As mentioned earlier, I tried replicate this [maximal eccentric overload] with traditional weights, using
unilateral movements and forced eccentrics. Discussed in the Train For Pain article,
August 2009 Muscle and Fitness. To really drive this point home take a look at the
circled portion in the middle of the screen. This represents the lowest level
of strength throughout the entire range of motion. This point is of TREMENDOUS
significance, because it is the highest amount of weight that you can train with, if
you to do full reps. If the weight is
heavier than this, you will fail to move the weight as soon as you hit this
portion of the rep. In other words, this is going to be your “Sticking Point”, and
once again, [KEY POINT] when you train with traditional weights -even if they feel
maximal- you’re still missing out on training your strength throughout the
ENTIRE range of motion. Now as you can imagine, this has implications for both
muscle growth [hypertrophy] as well as strength [and speed]. Now as a final tip, you can get around this by
occasionally using partials, like board and floor presses, as well as lockouts- in
which you use only the very end of the concentric rep. Stay tuned to Muscle and
Fitness for more ways of maximizing your muscle size and strength. Until next time, Raise The Barr.

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