How Doing Less Gets you More

Are you trying to get away with doing less exercise? Maybe the gym isn’t your scene. Or maybe your schedule has too many time conflicts to allow exercise. If you’re looking for a way to do more with less time and become more efficient, eccentric exercise might just be the key! Eccentric is the perfect at-home exercise routine because you can use your own body weight for an effective workout. Here’s how it works.

There are two movements that are experienced in weight lifting. Lifting the resistance, and lowering the resistance. Lifting the resistance is considered a concentric motion while lowering it is an eccentric motion. While lifting the resistance seems to be what the whole point of resistance training is about, it’s actually the eccentric motion that gets the results.

Jonathan Bailor, author of The Calorie Myth, explains that to get more muscles in less time, we need to enlist the individual fibers in our muscles. We have both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers in all of our muscle groups. Slow-twitch fibers help us walk around, while fast-twitch enable us to move briefly, with force. The more we work our fast-twitch muscle fibers by lifting heavy weights, exerting ourselves briefly but intensely, the more benefit we’ll see.

What I like about eccentric exercise is that I can “spot” myself. Eccentric movement can handle more weight than concentric movement so I can lift a weight over my head using both hands, but I only need one hand to lower it eccentrically. That means if I become fatigued, I simply use my other hand to help me bring the weight safely down.

Four simple home-based exercises can get you started. Squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and shoulder presses. But remember, the focus is going to be on the ECCENTRIC motion. So for squats, it’s squatting down slowly using just one leg, then returning to the standing position using both legs. Pull-ups actually start in the up position, followed by slowly letting body weight pull you down. Push-ups also start in the up position, then lower down slowly. Shoulder presses use both hands to bring a weight up over your head but you can lower it with one hand. If I have completely confused you with my descriptions, don’t worry. There are some great videos that do a better job via visual explanation.

Eccentric exercise video demonstrations:

At-Home Assisted Eccentric Squats with Jonathan Bailor

Eccentric Exercise and Training workout

Smarter Science of Slim podcast for eccentric training


Jonathan Bailor’s The Calorie Myth