“Eccentric (ECC) actions, when emphasized during resistance training, may elicit greater strength adaptation, muscular hypertrophy, acute increases in subsequent concentric (CON) force capabilities, and favorable acute inflammatory response compared with traditional ECC/CON actions and CON muscle actions alone,” according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (Kelly, et.al.)
Multiple studies show that athletes can augment traditional, concentric training with eccentric training to increase force capabilities.
The eccentric phase of an exercise (also known as the negative phase) is usually when the weight is lowered in preparation for the next concentric (push) action. For example, an eccentric bench press would consist of lowering a barbell from a fully extended elbow position to the chest in a continuous, controlled manner for 3-4 seconds.
Try adding an eccentric set to your usual training. If you usually perform three sets of a particular exercise, make the last set an eccentric set.
Or, make one training day per week an eccentric training day. If you train three days per week, perform all exercises and sets eccentrically on your middle day.
For more advanced, proficient athletes (in the weight room), if you have access to a spotter or two, try overload eccentric training, using 100% or more of your 1RM. (Note — a spotter is usually a good idea for many exercises, including weighted exercises done eccentrically, even with lighter loads)
This strategy is not only for weighted exercises. Eccentric training also works well with body-weight exercises, such as the squat, pushup, chinup, dip, etc.
When is comes to strength training — think negative, gain positive.