Eccentric vs Concentric: Difference and Comparison

Our curiosity makes us creative. Learning is vast and with proper information and technique, it is interesting. No matter what we seek, balance is the key. Coming to one of the basic practices we should follow is exercises to be fit.

As a beginner understanding, the mechanism of muscle movement can be challenging, but whatever it is, it can be broken down into two fundamental movements of the muscles. They are eccentric and concentric.

Key Takeaways

  1. Eccentric muscle contractions involve the lengthening of the muscle fibers under tension, while concentric contractions result in the shortening of the fibers.
  2. Eccentric contractions generate more force than concentric contractions, enabling muscles to handle greater loads.
  3. Eccentric training can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and injury prevention, while concentric training focuses on building muscle size and power.

Eccentric vs Concentric

Eccentric is an isotonic contraction in which the muscle-tendon lengthens because the force applied to the muscle exceeds the momentary force produced by the muscle itself. Concentric contraction is the one in which the length of the muscle shortens due to rise in the muscle tension.

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Eccentric movement of the muscle is identified with the lengthening or stretching of the muscles. You have heard breathing is the key to your successful workout.

Have you ever thought about why and how? Let us break it down. It is simply because to get the proper muscle movement the breathing out to relax the muscle group during the eccentric movement to get the optimum result.

Concentric movement on the other hand is the contracting of the specific, muscle group. We breathe in, contract the muscle and breathe out while relaxing the muscle.

And in this way, we can train our muscles in a specific way and learn about their strength. The stress experienced during the concentric movements gradually helps us in building stronger muscular strength.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Eccentric Concentric 
Definition It is the muscle movement that elongates your muscle to overcome the resistanceIt is the muscle movement that shortens your muscle by contracting it
Muscle movement Lengthening Contracting 
Breathing Breathe out Breathe in 
Direction with respect to the contracting muscle groupOpposite Same 
Example (bicep curl)Straightening down the armWhile curling your arm towards your shoulder

What is Eccentric?

When you consider the word’s origins, it comes from the Greek words ‘ex’ and ‘Ketron.” The first means ‘out of,’ while the second means ‘in the middle.’ You probably figured it out by now. And we can see that one of the muscle movements is eccentric.

If you recall the root word, it means “out of the ordinary,” and it has the same meaning here. The elongation or lengthening of the muscle is indicated by eccentric muscle movement.

As a result, the contraction of the muscle is in opposition to the movement. We’ll talk about the benefits of the eccentric movement in a few minutes, with specific examples.

Because eccentric movement implies a negative movement, you will put a lot more stress on your muscles while performing it. When doing a bicep curl, for example, you begin at your waist level and work your way up to contracting the muscle.

You’ve probably noticed your biceps getting pumped up, then releasing the tension and returning to your starting position. The eccentric movement is the recovery movement that you go through.

The discomfort is worthwhile because it aids in muscle strengthening. The eccentric movement strengthens your ligaments and tendons, preventing injuries.

As a result, the best way to train is to maintain a balance between your breath and muscle relaxation.

What is Concentric?

Concentric movements are contractions of the muscles. In another context, concentric circles are circles that share the same center. But we’re talking about muscle movements here.

Concentric movement, as opposed to eccentric movement, involves the shortening of muscle groups. The contracting muscle receives a lot of attention. It is critical to understand the purpose of any exercise before beginning.

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This is due to the benefits and necessity of the eccentric movement, which we have already seen. There are a few reasons why concentric movements should be performed.

You should ideally choose which muscle movement you want to work on based on the purpose.

For example, if you want to avoid soreness before a competition or if you are a sprinter, you should focus on the concentric movement.

According to studies, eccentric movements are not as beneficial to agility and lean muscle mass as concentric movements.

Concentric movements improve your muscle power and tolerance, as well as your speed. If you have a specific performance goal, you may need to select one movement over the other.

Though both muscle movements are responsible for muscle strengthening. However, the concentric movement emphasizes muscle endurance and quick performance.

Other examples of concentric movement are hamstring curls, crunches (the upward movement), etc.

Main Differences Between Eccentric and Concentric

  1. Eccentric refers to muscle lengthening, whereas concentric refers to muscle shortening.
  2. Eccentric movement is in the opposite direction of muscle contraction, whereas concentric movement is in the same direction.
  3. Eccentric refers to circles that are not centered in the same place, whereas concentric refers to circles that are centered in the same place.
  4. In the case of sprinters, eccentric movements are less effective than concentric movements.
  5. Eccentric movements increase muscle mass while concentric movements increase agility.
Difference Between Eccentric and Concentric

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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