Recap: What is eccentric loading?
An eccentric action is where lengthening of the structure occurs while that same structure is under contraction (Kravitz and Bubbico 2015). So eccentric loading is where the muscle (and associated tendons) are loaded and contracting during a lengthening action, in order to control that motion.
Eccentric loading of the biceps brachii
Distal biceps ruptures are rare, but in most of these cases the rupture occurs when an eccentric load is being applied to the muscle while it is trying to concentrically contract, such as during elbow flexion (Voleti et al 2017). Therefore strengthening this muscle using this loading mechanism via gradual eccentric resistance training will better prepare athletes for preventing this particular injury.
Biceps eccentric exercise
- Keeping your training arm straight, lift one dumbbell overhead using both hands
- Release the non-training arm from the dumbbell and down by your side
- Slowly lower the training arm’s elbow, allowing it to bend, until there is a 90 degree angle
- Once at 90 degrees, slowly straighten the elbow
- Lower arm down to side and repeat
Kravitz, L. and Bubbico, A. T. (2015). Essentials of Eccentric Training. USA: Human Kinetics.
Voleti, P. B., Berkowitz, J. L., Konin, G. P. and Cordasco, F. A. (2017). Rupture of the Short Head Component of a Bifurcated Distal Biceps Tendon. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 26 (3), pp. 403-408.