Improve your push ups and boost your strength by learning how to do an eccentric push up! Eccentric is a way of training in which you control the lowering part of an exercise to increase your strength. Basically, you work against gravity or resistance.
Learning and mastering the eccentric component of an exercise will make you stronger at the exercise itself. As a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, if you want to dominate push ups, mastering the eccentric push up is a good place to start!
What Is An Eccentric Push Up
Muscle group: chest (pectorals)
Equipment: body weight
Experience level: beginner
Secondary muscles: triceps, abdominals, shoulders
An eccentric push up is when you control the part of the movement in which you lower your chest to the ground.
So, instead of lowering to the ground quickly and pushing yourself back up, you’d resist the temptation to lower quickly and instead lower for a count of 3-5.
This is a great step in learning how to do a regular push up as a beginner and developing upper body strength.
Eccentric push ups can be done on an elevated surface, on the floor, or even progressed to sus[ended push ups once you’ve moved past regular push ups.
Know that the same form for push ups still applies. The only thing you’re changing is the tempo in which you lower.
How To Perform An Eccentric Push Up
- Begin in the starting push up position (a full plank) with your feet together and hands just slightly outside of your shoulders. Maintain a netrual neck.
- Keep the core engaged and a straight line as you bend the elbows backward and begin to lower toward the floor.
- Resist the urge to move quickly and instead control the exercise against gravity as you spend 4 second lowering to the ground.
- Flop to the floor and return to the starting position.
There are two ways you can use eccentric push ups.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to flop onto the floor and then get back up into the starting position.
If you’re an advanced exerciser who wants o bust through plateaus, you’ll do an “eccentric-focused” push up. In this case you’ll lower slowly toward the floor but instead of flopping you’ll push back up into the starting position.
Tips To Perform It
Make sure that your upper body (arms and spine) resembles an “A” at the bottom of the movement and not a “w”. Basically, don’t cock out the elbows.
Keep a neutral position on your neck throughout the movement, there’s no need to tuck your chin.
Squeeze the glutes and engage the abs to keep a rigid spine.
Sets & Reps
You can add eccentric push ups into your training program either elevated off a bench or on the floor. Because eccentrics have a tendency to create wicked DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), do not begin with high volume.
- Start with 2 sets of 4 repetitions.
- Move up the 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
- If you’re elevated (hands on a bench or chair), scale down toward the floor.
- Slowly add in more repetitions until you’re ready to perform a full push up.
You can also swap in eccentric push ups in something like a bodyweight push workout as you're learning.
Other Resources To Help You Get A Strong Upper Body
Stop FALLING OFF The Fitness Wagon
Do you start a new workout plan only to fall off of it weeks later?
Imagine the compliments you’ll get from family and friends when you finally lose those few extra pounds and skyrocket your confidence.
Discover the ultimate solution for busy moms seeking a quick and effective workout routine at home. As an exhausted mom of three, I designed these 25-minute sessions to fit seamlessly into your busy schedule to help you increase strength, stamina, and confidence.
Other programs have you doing cardio HIIT workouts complete with burpees and jump squats on the daily. But let’s be honest, just showing up for that is draining as a mom.
With SMASH Fit For Life you can say goodbye to that frustrated thought that you’re failing because you can’t seem to stick with it. Instead, these workouts focus on getting STRONGER with just one set of dumbbells and a mini band so that showing up for your workouts isn’t the worst part of your day.
Plus, you have direct access to a Certified Strength Coach anytime you have questions (or need some motivation!).
No more feeling guilty about missed gym sessions or overwhelmed about WHAT to do. The SMASH program was made for busy moms. Choose from a variety of packages and start prioritizing yourself today so that you can better help your family tomorrow.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eccentric Push Ups
As you lower your body toward the ground you are performing the eccentric part of a push up. On the opposite side, as you push your body back up toward a full plank you are performing the concentric push up.
An eccentric exercises is when you control the lengthening part of an exercise instead of rushing through it. Any exercise can be eccentric focused.
Eccentric training is when you place emphasis or increase the tempo on the lengthening part of an exercise and perform slow, long, contractions.