GUYS LOVE GOING into the gym and throwing up heavy weight at a rapid pace in an attempt to be “explosive” and exhaust the muscle—”no pain, no gain,” they are probably screaming to themselves. But while the lifting, or concentric, part of resistance exercise is obviously important, the lowering, or eccentric, phase of the lift has often been posited as just as essential for getting gains. A new set of studies from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, however, has found that the lowering part of weight lifting can actually be more important for gaining strength and for bolstering levels of testosterone and growth hormone.

 For the first study, researchers put 33 healthy young guys on a training plan that either featured “accentuated eccentric loading,” or resistance exercises where the weight on the lowering part of the lift was increased by 40%, or a traditional lifting scheme for 10 weeks. Both lifted twice a week with at least 48 hours of rest between sessions, and performed leg presses and knee extensions for three sets of six reps for the first workout and 10 reps for the second workout.