I received this email (name suppressed):
And what is an "eccentric contraction"?Hello,
Was just reading the DCT thread on your site, and thought I could offer some objective info on the method.
David McCoid initially taught Katy Bowman's static (isometric) stretching program. David is a decent guy and he started out with good intentions, but I'm not sure now though. At the end of the day he needs to make a living, and considering he lives in Panama, building an online business is a sensible way to do it.
There are a few issues I have with DCT; firstly, David said he created it as a method because his recovery (using Katy's routine) took 8 months and that was too long for people. He needed to find a quicker way. So he created this thing but nobody in the DCT Facebook group is getting better within 8 months. There doesn't seem to be anyone in there who's genuinely cured. There's a lot of cult-like behavior and people swearing by it, but they aren't curing themselves. Some are saying they're getting better, but the results are certainly not definitive.
The second issue I have with DCT is it was created without a single piece of testing and validation. David researched the idea of eccentrically loading muscles to eliminate tension, which other types of stretching don't do. The millions of people and hundreds (thousands?) of years of stretching have been useless, and he now has the answer. Obviously the correct way to build a product is to test it and validate it, then release it when you're confident of the results. This never happened. David had a theory of what 'should' work with this new research he'd done, built a product and sold it. It hadn't been proven to work on anybody.
The course has chopped and changed over the past year or two, mainly as Nic (the co-founder) has realised some things don't work and others do. He has a PT studio in California and it seems many guys go and do 1-on-1 sessions with him there. He's charging $200 an hour to work with people and they're essentially his guinea pigs. There's no validated results anywhere after however many years it's been running now.
On to the course. There's a muscle release routine and a fascia routine, with Nic explaining he wants people to understand the difference and be able to feel when they're stretching muscle and when they're stretching fascia. I have no idea why. You're expected to do each routine 3 times a week, on alternating days. You're also expected to do hanging work (different variations of swinging from a chin up bar) abdominal strengthening work and partner assisted stretching. Of course, Nic has a few products he invented and tacks these on to exercises, "you don't have to buy them, but they'll help you if you do".
They recommend buying weight vests (!) and stretching with these in order to put more load on muscles, and even zimmer frames to balance as you do a loaded split stretch, in your weight vest of course.
The muscle release is a few simple stretches and movements. There's a kneeling hip flexor stretch where you pulse forward and back, and a hamstring curl using floor slides. Nothing revolutionary here.
The fascia routine has more movements, including a standing hip flexor stretch, again with this pulsing movement, a modified pigeon, figure four and a few others. They're all the positions of standard stretches - the only real difference is you are doing 'reps' under eccentric load. Their variation on the well known clam exercise for example, involves resisting the leg with your hand as you raise the knee up in the air. You'll do this 15 times or so before switching sides.
The DCT guys are very against the idea of releasing or 'letting go' in any sort of stretch. Their premise is based on 'strengthening not stretching', so in all these stretches you're actively resisting, whether with your own body or an object, and performing reps. You're fatiguing the muscle essentially, with the idea that as you build strength the muscle will naturally become more supple. If all the prime movers around the pelvis are healthy, strong and supple, they argue, the pelvic floor has no reason to be dysfunctional and will return to its optimal state.
That's essentially the course, and they've recently added some new HF specific exercises as well as upper body stretches, which you have to pay an extra hundred dollars to access of course.
The Facebook group is quite a strange place. There was a guy called Greg Clark there months ago who was the only person who seemed to be cured and became a good friend of Dave's. He essentially just repeated every theory Dave had like some strange cult member. Greg has now gone - I think Nic probably got rid of him as he wasn't exactly helping the credibility of the program. He was also getting 20% of sign-ups and was making a lot of YouTube videos at the time to drive traffic. He was definitely the loudest voice in the group, then one day just disappeared. Admittedly, I haven't been in there for a while so he may have announced his departure and I just missed it.
In the group David is often posting videos from around the web with little snippets confirming his theories and beliefs. He's completely against pelvic floor PT and any form of relaxation to cure this. He's clearly pushing an agenda these days with everything he posts confirming DCT is the cure. When I called out the group was becoming cult-like and dogmatic in their thinking, I was obviously told firmly that was ludicrous.
So basically, "an eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under load. Eccentric training is repetitively doing eccentric muscle contractions. For example, in a biceps curl the action of lowering the dumbbell back down from the lift is the eccentric phase of that exercise" (wikipedia).
So no great breakthroughs, no mysteries, no need to support Mr McCoid's lifestyle in tax haven Panama