You are firmly convinced that going down the stairs is easier, while going up is more expensive for our muscles, right? Well, you must know that it is exactly the opposite. Sounds crazy, yes, but this is a conclusion backed by the scientific evidence behind eccentric exercise.
The process that makes muscles stronger than before, following an exercise, is activated when the endocrine glands notice that the muscle fibers have suffered damage, even if this were microscopic in nature. For this reason, a distinction must be made between the two types of activity: concentric exercises (climbing stairs, lifting weights) and eccentric exercises (going down a ramp, lowering weights).
According to Tony Kay, professor of biomechanics at Northampton University, to carry out a concentric action we use many different types of muscle fibers, while an eccentric type reaction uses many fewer. What is the difference? Which we use to perform eccentric exercises a force four times higher than the concentric one. Ergo, more effort means more damage; more damage means more hormones that repair the muscle.
“The greater damage means that the body burns more calories in the process of repair and recovery after the exercise is done”, Kay says. “This increases your metabolic rate and builds strength far more effectively than conventional forms of exercise”.
A detailed experiment to validate this thesis has been published on the site National Library of Medicine.