Downhill Cardio for Bigger Thighs
Its been reported that to increase muscular strength and muscular hypertrophy, it has been reported that a training intensity of more than 60 to 70% of maximum strength is required. Maximal eccentric contraction has been shown to produce greater augmentation of muscular strength and muscular hypertrophy than a concentric contraction after resistance training. Eccentric exercise is the lowering portion of exercise or muscle lengthening, whereas contraction is the contraction or muscle shortening. In an eccentric contraction, the activated muscle is forcibly lengthened, and the mechanical stress in the muscle created by an eccentric contraction is greater than that of a concentric contraction. An example of an eccentric contraction is the video below:
Most of the research involving heavy eccentric exercise has involved resistance exercise but researchers recently just reported that you can also do eccentric exercise on a treadmill. Eccentric exercise is metabolically less demanding than doing concentric exercise, for example, heart rate responses are lower using eccentric contractions compared to concentric contractions. Researchers wanted to examine the responses of downhill interval training on muscle growth responses in rats. The purpose of this study was to examine whether an aerobic interval exercise using an eccentric contraction would result in skeletal muscular hypertrophy and augmentation of muscular strength in rats. Twenty-one female rats were used in this study. The rats were randomly divided into three groups:
– The control group performed no exercise.
-The aerobic endurance exercise group ran for 90 min.
– The aerobic interval exercise group ran for a total of 90 minutes in 5 minute bouts separated by 2 minute rest periods. The exercise groups ran on a downhill treadmill incline, once every three days, for a total of twenty sessions.
In general, the protocol of interval exercise involves repeated short bouts of rather high-intensity exercise interspersed with recovery periods. At the end of the study, the muscle fiber cross-section of the aerobic endurance and aerobic interval exercise groups were significantly larger than those of the control group. The researchers consider that an aerobic interval exercise using an eccentric contraction is effective at increasing muscle strength and mass by the same degree as an aerobic endurance exercise, even though rest periods are inserted between the exercise periods. These results indicate that aerobic interval exercise with an eccentric component may be an effective method of inducing hypertrophy and augmenting muscular strength in skeletal muscle. So the good news is that if a person is dieting, he may want to try and add some downhill running as its not going to raise your heart rate like aerobic exercise and it metabolically less demanding but it will still enhance muscle growth. Since dieting for a show is extremely fatiguing. This is all based on a rat study, but the validity of eccentric training on a downhill slope is fairly concrete so give it a try, it may add some inches on your thighs.
Farthing JP, Chilibeck PD.: The effects of eccentric and concentric training at different velocities on muscle hypertrophy. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2003, 89: 578–586.
Tsumiyama W, Oki S, Takamiya N, et al. : Induction of muscle hypertrophy with a low intensity eccentric contraction in rats. J Phys Ther Sci, 2014, 26: 1623–1625.
Tsumiyama W, Oki S, Takamiya N, et al. Aerobic interval exercise with an eccentric contraction induces muscular hypertrophy and augmentation of muscular strength in rats. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2015;27(4):1083-1086. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1083.
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