With free weights, and most machines, a full ROM movement involves both concentric and eccentric effort. The suggestions already given are all great. Extending or decreasing the eccentric effort time has not been shown in the published research to effect strength gains. For most clients, a 2 count effort, 2 count recovery is quite effective.
My favorite eccentric training for clients involves “negatives”. They focus solely on the down phase. In this routine, I have clients lift at least 25% more weight than they normally do. I help them up in the concentric phase and they have to perform the eccentric phase at a count of 5 seconds. They do 2 to 3 sets of up to 6 repetitions (if they can do more than 6 reps, that means they need more weight). By the next day, they are very sore.
This routine, obviously, is recommended only for clients with at least a moderate level of strength who are looking for that extra edge. It should not be performed on special population clients, including but not limited to those recovering from injury, the elderly (provided they are able bodied and already have a significant level of fitness), pregnant women, and children, even if they are very athletic.
This routine can only be performed once a month for each body part/group, because of the strain it places on the musculoskeletal system. Performing negatives more than once a month on any body part/group can and will cause significant musculoskeletal damage.
If you guys have questions, let me know. I personal train at the LA Fitness in Seattle and host running clinics.
The majority of my clients are older adults, and my answer pertains to that group. Therefore, it is not eccentric training as the other trainers have discussed.
I cue the need to control the movement both ways and gradually nudge them towards slowing down during the eccentric phase of the exercise. In order to apply this to the real world, I use the example of carrying a bag with items that can break and thus the need to be able to put them down slowly.
But my main cue is the focus on control throughout the entire movement.
For pure strength in power lifting moves.
Bench press, you can put the max weight for 1 rep on the bar. The lifter lowers the weight and the partner helps lift it back up.
A 1 rep max weight could usually be done 4-5 reps. So an example of something that would put major strength on your bench would be to do a regular strength routine then add 3 -4 sets of negative only reps as follows
Set 1 is you max weight for 3 reps. Remember you are only lowering the weight and your partner is helping you push it back up all three times
Set 2 is same as above but do 4 reps. Remember you partner will have to be doing more work each time, ( good workout for him to get his lats bigger 🙂 )
Set 3 this time you go to your max, keep lowering the weight til you can’t lower it anymore, this can be very dangerous so I recommend three spotters.
If you have questions it may be best to give me a call to clarify, this stuff should only be attempted by someone with a bare min. of 1 year experience of consistent workout. Really only needed after every other workout isn’t helping anymore.