As fitness professionals, we often get to know our clients on a personal level. Our roles vary from trainer to health coach, life advisor, therapist or mentor. Over time we become a big part of our client’s positive support system. When a client is going through an especially hard time, it can be rewarding to help your client become stronger both physically and mentally.
The workout below is the third workout in our “Create the Feeling” workout series. It is designed to help a client who is feeling suppressed in a relationship, at work or at home to gain strength in both mind and body. Teaching clients to focus on the eccentric contractions challenges them to become stronger mentally while physically enduring the discomfort. During this type of workout, consider using a strength inducing mantra such as “Life is tough, but you are tougher!”
Eccentric contractions involve the lengthening of the muscle which slows down the force to the joint. This is typically the downward phase of the exercise and is the “braking system” of movement.
5 things Eccentric Contractions can do for your client:
- Create a “winning” moment by successfully resisting the weight at a slower pace.
- Add variety and interest to a strength training program.
- Help build flexibility within a strengthening exercise.
- Help break strength plateaus.
- Offer a functional way to build joint stability.
Strong Mind/Strong Body Workout
The Warm Up: Start with a light cardio warm up for 3-5 minutes using an elliptical or a bike. Then, continue with these 5 intervals: 30 seconds intense, 30 seconds recovery. Perform the following 5 bodyweight exercises: 10 Squats, 10 Lateral Lunges, 5 Single Leg Bridges each leg, 5 Inch Worms, 10 Bird Dogs
The Workout: Perform the following full body workout focusing on the eccentric contraction with 3-4 counts on the lengthening phase and 1-2 counts on the shortening phase.
Dumbbell Front Squats - 3 sets x 8 reps
Hip Thrusters - 3 sets x 6 reps
DB Incline Press - 3 sets x 8 reps
Assisted Pull Ups - 3 sets x 6 reps
Biceps Curls - 3 sets x 8 reps
The Cool Down: Finish with these 4 stretches, Chest, Child’s Pose, Hip Flexor and Figure 4. Hold each 20 - 30 seconds and breathe. Remind your client to inhale the strength of the workout and exhale the suppression and frustration. Repeat the mantra. Now you have taught your client a new way of approaching their STRONG, both in the gym and in life.
Lisa Jameson has a B.S. in Health Education and is ACE, AFAA certified. She has nearly two decades of experience in personal training and group fitness. She has worked in corporate, commercial, college, in-home and outdoor fitness settings. She stays hungry for learning and feeds her mind with journal articles, books, conferences, webinars, and classes.
Downie, M. April 2015. Five Benefits of Eccentric Exercise. IDEAfit.com.