October 2020

Train Hard and Recover Faster With Concentric Only Training

Many of the questions we receive at MAXPRO are regarding the concentric biased nature of our product. There are quite a few misconceptions and an overall incomplete understanding of what it means to emphasize the concentric portion of a lift. Even the nomenclature is confusing as industry professionals and scientists alike use many different terms like concentric-only, eccentric-less, positives, negatives etc. to describe contraction types.

Without going down the rabbit hole, it is accurate to describe contraction types and their effect on physiological adaptations, recovery and transfer as "complicated." I encourage those interested to seek further knowledge in the scientific literature. For the rest of you strictly looking for the advantages of concentric training with the MAXPRO, please continue reading. 

You may not realize it, but many activities you are familiar with are concentric biased.

For starters, there is no exercise that is a binary or "one or the other" and categorizing them is a fool's errand. Any type of exercise will always include both concentric, isometric and eccentric contractions from one of the specific muscles involved. It is a spectrum.

You may not realize it, but many activities you are familiar with are concentric biased. Examples include riding a bike, pushing your lawnmower, swimming, tire flips, heavy deadlifting, or simply walking up a hill or set of stairs. These activities require force to be produced by your muscles concentrically and once the "rep" is complete most of the muscles used to complete the task relax and return to starting position without much resistance getting there.

Upon critical analysis, it can be argued that traditional strength training including conventional resistance exercises are also concentric biased. Think about it - the limiting factor when you reach muscular failure is typically NOT the inability to lower the weight (eccentric) but the inability to lift and move the weight concentrically. In fact, we are at least 20% stronger in the eccentric portion of most lifts thus, unless you are focusing on strict, eccentric contractions or finishing the set with forced eccentrics (which requires a spotter) the training adaptation is concentric biased strength with the added benefit of hypertrophy. 

There are plenty of modern studies that show subjects getting bigger and stronger using concentric-only training.

Our bodies are quite remarkable in sensing the demands forced upon it and will respond with adaptations to these specific activities - especially if the requirements are greater than our current capabilities. We will not only compensate but overcompensate by increasing strength and muscle to meet future demands. It really is that simple.

Of course, there is endless literature and experts who will tell you why their model of strength and hypertrophy is superior and scoff at this simplistic explanation. That's fine. I'm sure those same people would love to go back in time and explain to Arnold Schwarzenegger or other legendary strongmen that they are doing it wrong and that we, in the future, have it all figured out. I'll get out the popcorn.

That being said, there are plenty of modern studies that show subjects getting bigger and stronger using concentric-only training. The adaptations are nuanced, however, in that concentric-only training increases muscle fiber diameter (not length) and tends to target middle and proximal regions of the muscle (not distal). Studies also show that the muscle damage is substantially less than conventional or eccentric biased training thus reducing recovery time AND that concentric biased training is better for power development.

Am I saying that this way of training is the ONLY way to achieve these outcomes and everything else should be discarded? No! I am simply conveying the unique advantages of the MAXPRO and concentric biased training that you can use to fit your goals and your lifestyle. In fact, there are muscle groups and exercises that you are better off avoiding concentric biased training with in favor of other contraction types.

Getting stronger and putting on muscle is attainable without a high degree of muscle damage. Thus, recovery can be quicker allowing you to perform where and when it really matters and be more than just a gym class hero. 

Imagine yourself having to be in a performance-ready state all of the time. Fireman, Police Officers, Military Personnel, In-Season Athletes, Busybody Soccermom etc. You can't take a day off because you are sore from leg day. You also can't be weak. Without the right tools, there are very few convenient options to overcome this paradox.

I believe this is where the MAXPRO shines. As mentioned before, getting stronger and putting on muscle is attainable without a high degree of muscle damage. Thus, recovery can be quicker allowing you to perform where and when it really matters and be more than just a gym class hero.

Speaking of arm day, it is worth mentioning that fatigue is peripheral (local) and not central (systemic) when performing concentric biased resistance training. In plain speak, that means that you will not tire yourself out and potentially "overtrain" as is possible with other forms of exercise that make heavy use of the glycolytic (CrossFit) or aerobic (Cardio) energy pathways. Even if you solely focus on the phosphagen energy system via traditional and eccentric biased training you will inevitably create muscle damage and require sufficient time to recover.

Make no mistake, concentric biased training is not a panacea and will still require you to recover between sessions, but the recovery period will be much shorter and specific to the muscles trained (not systemic). This allows you to be in a ready state to perform other tasks without as much interference from your training program.

Traditional strength, CrossFit and endurance training can take a heavy toll on the body and require lots of practice. It makes perfect sense that those wishing to excel in one of these activities compliment their training with the concentric biased exercises provided by the MAXPRO.
A great example of this is long distance runners who benefit from adding total body strength but must primarily focus on running long distances. Adding in some basic strength movements performed on the MAXPRO is a high return/low cost way for these athletes to improve muscle, joint and ligament strength as well as reduce the muscle-loss associated with endurance sports. 

Studies also show that the muscle damage is substantially less than conventional or eccentric biased training thus reducing recovery time AND that concentric biased training is better for power development.

The MAXPRO is a great tool to develop power without the steep learning curve associated with barbell olympic lifts.

Power is the intersection of force and velocity and is so very important in real-world application. Athletes especially need to be more than strong - they must apply that strength on the field or court. Power bridges the gap.

Some of the most popular methods for developing power include olympic lifts which, as you may have guessed, are concentric biased. That's why you see olympic and powerlifters dropping the weight after completing their lift. These lifts can be beneficial but require a great deal of practice, lots of equipment and the absence of neighbors located below your apartment.

The MAXPRO is a great tool to develop power without the steep learning curve associated with barbell olympic lifts. It's also much safer and more versatile as you can target multiple muscle groups in multiple planes of movement without the restrictions of the barbell or gravity.

As an added benefit, you can actually measure and quantify the power you are generating on the MAXPRO as opposed to using your fitness bro who is probably more interested in taking the perfect gym selfie. Tracking your progress and dialing in the perfect amount of resistance to maximize power, for instance, in a jump squat is a great way to increase your vertical jump. This has obvious advantages to athletes which I will discuss in future articles. 

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If you need lots of volume, then concentric biased training allows you to attain more contribution reps per session and more frequent sessions per week. It's not magic. As stated before, less muscle damage equals faster recovery and thus the opportunity to train more frequently.  

Maybe all you are looking for is muscle growth or "hypertrophy" so you can fill out your jeans and t-shirt or maybe look good rocking those zubaz pants. 

If muscle is what you are going for, then the science says you need lots of training volume. I would define volume as "contribution reps" or repetitions at 100% effort and the inability to move the weight as fast as your first few reps. Think of it as that moment where you begin to grunt and make funny faces (with good form of course).

If you need lots of volume, then concentric biased training allows you to attain more contribution reps per session and more frequent sessions per week. It's not magic. As stated before, less muscle damage equals faster recovery and thus the opportunity to train more frequently.

If you are sore 2 or 3 days after a workout your ability to produce mechanical tension (the mechanism primarily responsible for hypertrophy) is severely diminished during that time. Therefore you may have 1 or 2 good training days per week.

If you only take 48 hours to recover from a training session, you could easily train 3 or 4 days per week. This would essentially double your training volume and is especially effective if you're trying to focus on a specific muscle group. 

The fitness and athletic community have used concentric biased training to achieve physique and strength goals since the inception of physical culture.

The MAXPRO is new to the fitness scene and reservations about it's concentric biased nature are understandable. The truth is, however, that the fitness and athletic community have used concentric biased training to achieve physique and strength goals since the inception of physical culture.

I personally believe that you should use all of the tools available to reach your fitness goals and work around whatever limitations you may have. The MAXPRO has distinct advantages offered by it's resistance profile and inherent versatility which will most definitely upgrade your toolbox and provide a novel training stimulus. So get to work! 

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MAXPRO® SmartConnect

MAXPRO® SmartConnect

$649.00

Reserve your MAXPRO now shipping in November! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/MAXPROdetroit/

**PREORDER PRICING** Experience MAXPRO with the Bluetooth connected version. Using on-board sensors that feed to the MAXPRO APP* to track your workout, monitor your progress and provide valuable data and analytics. You can also follow videos from our professional coaches to help you reach your fitness goals.

Included Items
  • MAXPRO SmartConnect
  • MAXPRO 3-piece Quick Connect Long Bar 
  • MAXPRO Workout Handles - 2
  • MAXPRO Ankle/Wrist Straps - 2
  • MAXPRO Door Mount Brackets - 2
  • USB Charger

MAXPRO is a beautifully designed fitness machine inspired by products as varied as Italian sports cars, hoverboards, and athletic shoes. This inspiration, combined with our team's artistic vision, has created a simple and cool looking product that is strong, durable and ready for the toughest workouts.

Using the MAXPRO provides a concentric biased resistance (CBR) profile. A concentric biased resistance (CBR) profile is different than the traditional workout methods available today. Basically a MAXPRO user will workout the muscle primarily on contraction only.

You'll get the full MAXPRO™ experience with this Bluetooth connected model, with on-board sensors that along with the MAXPRO™ App track your workout, monitor your progress, provides valuable data and analytics, and coaches you to help you reach your fitness goals. 

Article credit : Mike Kelley
Fitness & Finance
10 years of operational experience with small businesses and startups. Excel enthusiast with a passion for physical culture and the science of speed. 

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