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Backward Over Forward: Eccentric Cycling Offers More Benefits and Requires Less Effort

Backward Over Forward: Eccentric Cycling Offers More Benefits and Requires Less Effort

The latest sports medicine research shows how eccentric cycling is superior to concentric cycling. Credit: Associate Professor Ryoichi Ema of Shizuoka Sangyo University Japanese researcher…

Monday, Mar 14

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The latest sports medicine research shows how eccentric cycling is superior to concentric cycling. Credit: Associate Professor Ryoichi Ema of Shizuoka Sangyo University Japanese researcher uses neuromuscular activation to assess the impact of cycling on the rectus femoris muscle.

Cycling is a popular fitness activity worldwide. Although the physiological benefits of cycling are known to many, its precise impact on the ‘rectus femoris’ muscle has remained elusive so far. A sports science researcher from Japan has now made a direct comparison between concentric and eccentric cycling, and demonstrated the relatively higher efficiency of eccentric cycling, using neuromuscular activation as a key performance indicator.

Working out has a science of its own. Scientists categorize different workout activities based on how the muscles are used while performing them: to understand this clearly, consider the popular bicep curl. When you are curling the dumbbell towards you, you are contracting the bicep muscle, and this is a concentric activity. Returning the dumbbell to the original position requires your bicep to ‘uncurl’ or go back to its normal length, making this an eccentric activity. Scientists are constantly on the quest to pinpoint which one of these activity types, or more realistically, what combination, gives the best output in terms of neuromuscular improvement.

A sport science researcher from Japan has recently been able to demonstrate the unique neuromuscular activation of the rectus femoris muscle during concentric, or regular, cycling, and eccentric cycling, where one resists the backward movement of the pedal instead of pushing down […]

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