Eccentric exercise as a training modality: a brief review
An eccentric muscle action involves the lengthening of a muscle due to an external load and occurs as a result of the mechanical disruption of action and myosin. The mechanical nature of the actin and myosin disruption during eccentric muscle actions is reported to allow for greater force production and requires a different neural activation pattern from a concentric action. As a consequence of these differences it is suggested concentric focused resistance training may not overload the eccentric action sufficiently. Therefore the purpose of this review was to outline a variety of eccentric training modalities and provide the reader with practical recommendations on programming. A search of the literature was conducted for; eccentric; training; methods; cycling; isokinetics; drop jumps; flywheel; exercise induced muscle damage; repeated bout effect. After this search 106 papers were selected to form the basis of this review. When training isokinetically it was reported six to ten weeks of training at 180° s-1, three times per week and with 24 – 30 maximal contractions per session resulted in improved hypertrophy and eccentric strength. When using dynamic exercises such as the squat and bench press a barbell load of 75 – 85% concentric 1RM with a releaser load of 40 – 55% (5 – 10 repetitions, 45 – 90 seconds between repetitions) may be appropriate. If the eccentric training is submaximal the barbell load has been recommended to be 50 – 65% concentric 1RM with a releaser load of 10 – 25% (15 – 20 repetitions, 15 – 30 seconds between repetitions). In conclusion eccentric training may warrant inclusion as part of an athletes training program.