Fitness Tip: Concentric vs. eccentric
A muscle contraction has two moves: concentric and eccentric, which are both important. The muscles above the joint are the ones doing the work. For example, the bicep bends the elbow, while the tricep muscle typically straightens the elbow. Did you know that the bicep can be responsible for straightening the elbow as well? The concentric part of the move is performed by the bicep as we bend our elbow, we are contracting (concentric) the bicep muscle. When we straighten that elbow slowly and with some resistance, we are eccentrically using the bicep to move it through that action. Try it! Place your fingers on your bicep and feel its actions through these moves.
Bridget R. Sanders, PTA
The Memorial Hospital Physical Therapy Department