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Eccentric Exercises for Triathletes on Leg Day

Triathletes often focus on improving their overall strength and endurance to enhance their performance in swimming, cycling, and running. When it comes to leg day and incorporating eccentric exercises into their routine, it's important to strike a balance between building strength and avoiding excessive fatigue.

Two Athletes doing lunges

Eccentric exercises involve lengthening of the muscle under tension, and they can be beneficial for muscle growth, strength gains, and injury prevention.

Here are some eccentric exercises that triathletes may consider incorporating into their leg day routine:

  • Eccentric Squats:

  • Perform squats with a slow descent, focusing on controlling the lowering phase of the movement. This helps engage the muscles more effectively. 

  • Eccentric Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

    • Stand on one leg and hinge at the hips   while lowering a weight (dumbbell or barbell) towards the ground. Control the descent and return to the starting position.

  • Step Downs:

  • Stand on a step or platform and slowly lower one foot towards the ground, controlling the movement with the working leg. This targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

  • Eccentric Calf Raises:

  • Perform calf raises with a slow lowering phase. This helps strengthen the calf muscles eccentrically, which is important for the running portion of triathlons.

  • Eccentric Lunges:

  • Step forward into a lunge and lower the body slowly. Focus on engaging the muscles throughout the descent.

Consider these real-life examples of eccentric strength from

Eccentric training IRL Eccentric muscle strength and control is very important for everyday movement in the real world. When you walk or run downhill, for example, your quadriceps must work eccentrically to control the speed of your descent.

The same can be said for lowering your child from your arms to the floor, or sitting down into a chair without collapsing. Eccentric contractions — lengthening your muscles under tension — are a key component of muscular control.

Some sports, such as skiing, rely on eccentric muscle contraction throughout the duration of movement. But most importantly, everyone relies on eccentric muscle strength for stability, mobility, and injury prevention.

Because we live on earth, where gravity exerts a constant downward force on our bodies, even standing tall with good posture requires some degree of eccentric contraction.

Eccentric training is an effective way to enhance your strength, stability, and control around joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, helping to prevent injury and chronic pain.”

It's essential for triathletes to tailor their strength training routine to their individual needs and consult with a fitness professional or coach to ensure that the exercises are appropriate for their specific goals and current fitness level. Additionally, incorporating proper recovery strategies, such as stretching and foam rolling, can help prevent muscle soreness and promote overall well-being.


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