Isometric, Concentric and Eccentric muscle contractions: What’s the difference?

Muscle contraction is simply muscles doing work. So what’s with all these complicated terms?

Isometric contraction is what happens when you lift and hold a heavy weight steady. Your muscles bulge, but nothing’s moving.

Concentric contractions are movements where you exert muscle force, such as pushing a weight away from you.

Eccentric contractions are the opposite; it is when you lower / return a weight to neutral position, such as letting a weight come back down.

Think of the bench-press exercise, lying on your back: You start at the top and lower the bar; this is an eccentric contraction. Simply holding the bar steady without movement half-way down is an isometric contraction. Lifting the bar back to the top is a concentric contraction.

Now try to recognize these in your very next workout.

muscle contraction

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