Augmented eccentric loading: theoretical and practical applications for the strength and conditioning professional

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Phil Watkins

The practice of incorporating augmented eccentric loading (AEL) into resistance exercise is still relatively new. Although limited, there is evidence supporting the contention that AEL may lead to both superior acute and chronic adaptations over more traditional methods. AEL involves coupled concentric and overloaded eccentric muscle actions,and attempts to optimise the muscular adaptations associated with stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) activities. Cluster set configurations may be used as a means for implementing AEL into periodised training plans, and may improve the quality of each AEL repetition when compared with more traditional set structures by off setting the affects of fatigue. More research into concentric and eccentric relative loading, as well as the rate of eccentric loading is necessary to further defineits role within the strength and conditioning community. However, it is possible that enhanced training effects may be achieved if increased eccentric loads are implemented into periodised strength-training programmes.

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