2:1 Accentuated Eccentrics
Accentuated means "emphasized." And eccentric is the lowering phase or the "negative" of the lift. Many lifters miss out on the benefits of eccentric overload or a lack of time under tension during the eccentric. As a result, they never maximize muscular development.
The battle? First, accentuated eccentrics are brutally hard work. Second, they can be extraordinarily taxing on your central nervous system.
To reduce joint stress and CNS fatigue, you can use machine-based eccentric training with 2:1 accentuated eccentric. With hamstring curls, you'll use both legs to curl the load and only one leg to lower the weight back to the starting position. This requires you to focus on the eccentric tempo to maximize muscle building tension to shock your hamstrings into growing.
Here's what the seated and lying variations look like:
Why This Works
- The explosive concentric/lifting movement improves muscle fiber recruitment. With a greater number of muscle fibers stimulated, your potential for muscle growth increases.
- The slow eccentric/negative action increases mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and fatigues a greater number of muscle fibers. And since the muscle is under tension for longer, blood can't enter it, creating a hypoxic environment. This boosts metabolic stress and increases growth factors like IGF-1, further boosting muscle gains.
- Using one limb to lower the weight boosts the eccentric load on the working limb by 50%, creating more tension and hitting a high number of muscle fibers.
Not only do these exercises improve your mind-muscle connection (the proven mind-hack for muscle growth according to the greatest bodybuilders of our time) but they also increase time under tension – lowering your legs in a slow and controlled manner on the eccentric phase of every rep. By recruiting a high amount of muscle fibers and then maximizing fatigue of those muscle fibers, you've got a winning recipe for growth.
Sets and Reps
Do the 2:1 technique at the end of training for 3-4 sets of 4-8 reps. The lifting action should be explosive and the lowering action should take about 5 seconds. I don't recommend that you use this technique every day. Instead, pick one or two areas of focus for a month, then switch.