Concentric contractions: type of movement to increase muscle size

Concentric or myometric contractions are understood as the physiological effect produced by the approach of two points or ends of the muscle. This causes the resistance of the external zone to be overcome, leading to a considerable increase in volume.

In other words, with concentric contractions there is a shortening of the muscle fibers, which in turn leads to a change in the length of the muscle being worked.

Benefits of concentric contractions

The benefits of this kind of isotonic contraction in the muscles are varied, however, we gather those that we consider most important and useful for athletes:

  • Increase resistance: the achievement of concentric contractions allows a gradual increase in the resistance of the muscle to the load.
  • Expands muscle fibers: hypertrophy is one of the consequences, leading to an increase in size without muscle dissociation occurring.
  • Promotes toning: It is also possible to mark the zone exercised if you do regular training sessions for a period of approximately 3 months.
  • Regulates metabolism: there is a direct impact on the metabolism that will present a better response during aging.
  • Perfect intermuscular coordination: improves the execution of movements, that is, they occur with greater precision due to the work of several muscles in perfect synchrony.

Risks of concentric contractions

The movements that generate concentric contractions have another side of the coin in the form of risks. When an excessive force is exerted when performing these exercises, the intensity is exceeded or an imbalance occurs, the complications could be the following:

  • Rise in blood pressure: when doing excessive loads at high speed we demand blood pumping.
  • Joint injuries: This occurs when the concentric movements are not balanced with the eccentric ones, leading to joint injuries that can be dislocations or sprains.
  • Loss of performance: If an effective routine and sets are not applied within the range supported by the individual, loss of performance may be imminent.
  • Rhabdomyolysis: Another risk associated with disproportionate concentric contractions is rhabdomyolysis, a disease that involves the breakdown of muscle tissue and subsequent involvement of the kidneys by a protein (myoglobin) that is released.

Joint injuries can result from poor performance in concentric contractions.

Concentric contraction movements

Now that we know both the benefits and the risks of concentric contractions, we are ready to accommodate certain exercises that will allow for the desired muscle shortening.

Curl biceps

With the curl biceps exercise is achieved by exercising the aforementioned muscle by flexing the elbow together with the work of the wrist. There are many variants of this movement that leads to concentric contractions, such as the case with the barbell, the preacher, with hammer-style dumbbells and Zottman. The basic version is as follows:

  • Stand with your feet parallel holding a tensioner and keep your torso upright.
  • Take the tensioner with both hands and elbow flexion begins.
  • Bring your hands to shoulder height, thus favoring the shortening of the muscles.
  • Preserve the tension position for 3 to 4 seconds.
  • Release the tension and repeat the movement 6 times.
  • 3 to 4 sets of this exercise are recommended for it to take effect.

Read also: Exercises to increase biceps


One of the classic exercises for every athlete is the abdominals, because results can be achieved without the need for any external agent. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees.
  • Touch each side of the head with your hands, but this does not mean an aid to carry out the subsequent step.
  • Raise your torso towards your knees, avoiding that the effort produces the lifting of the feet.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
  • The ideal is to perform between 15 and 20 repetitions. Regarding the number of series, it will depend on the resistance and the objectives of each person.


Push-ups affect many muscles, including the biceps, triceps, pecs, delts, and abs. For this reason, the concentric contraction in the arms can be achieved and influence the toning of the rest of the areas. To implement them it is necessary to put into practice this step by step:

  • Lie face down with both hands spread apart and flat on the floor. In turn, with your legs straight, place the balls of your feet on the floor.
  • Lower your torso, so that the chest is practically glued to the ground.
  • Reverse movement, going from the bent arms to the straight version.
  • Do 10-20 reps. However, your resistance will be in charge of marking the maximum.
  • The series vary widely, but a recommended average is between 4 and 8.


Among the movements of concentric contractions are squats, which have different alternatives. However, we will focus on basic body weight exercise. To apply them, do the following:

  • Position your feet parallel according to the width of your shoulders.
  • Join your hands and keep your elbows bent at about a 90 degree angle.
  • Crouch down looking for the buttocks to point to the posterior area. A key point is that the knees maintain the line of the balls of the feet, which will mark the last place of descent.
  • Rise up and repeat the procedure 20 times.
  • Evaluate 3 sets to start. In addition, it establishes the evolution in relation to the response of your body.

Squats are classic exercises of this type that have a specific technique to avoid causing injuries.

It may interest you: Discover the technique that will make the squats work

Other types of muscle contractions

Being clear about the benefits, risks and movements most used in concentric contractions, we consider it appropriate for you to know the other types of muscle contractions that exist. These are the eccentric and the isometric.


An eccentric contraction is a stretching, lengthening, or lengthening movement of the muscle after shortening. It is the inverse of the concentric, since it occurs when the contracted muscle returns to its original state. Some movements considered eccentric are the following:

  • Jogging.
  • To go down the stairs.
  • Return a dumbbell to its starting position.
  • Triceps stretch.
  • Walk.


Unlike concentric and eccentric isotonic movements, isometric are contractions that do not mobilize the jointsrather, they keep them static. In other words, neither approaching nor lengthening of the muscles occurs, but activation does occur. Examples are as follows:

  • Pushing a wall.
  • Table on the forearms.
  • Glute bridge.
  • Squat on the wall.
  • Static abs.

Stretch before concentric contractions

So that concentric contractions can be beneficial and the risks are underestimated a generic stretch is convenient before and after exercise. This in order to reduce accumulated stresses.

On the other hand, it is not advisable to exceed the number of repetitions and series without first measuring performance. Finally, if you experience any type of acute discomfort with any exercise, be it concentric, eccentric or isometric contractions, it is best to suspend its performance and go to a physiotherapist.