Effects of eccentric versus concentric training on thigh muscle strength and EMG

J Y Seger, A Thorstensson
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2005, 26 (1): 45-52
The purpose of this study was to compare pure eccentric and concentric strength training regarding possible specific effects of muscle action type on neuromuscular parameters, such as a decreased inhibition during maximal voluntary eccentric actions. Two groups of young healthy adult men performed 10 weeks of either eccentric or concentric unilateral isokinetic knee extensor training at 90 degrees.s(-1), 4 sets of 10 maximal efforts, 3 days a week. Knee extensor torque and surface EMG from the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups were collected and quantified in a window between 30 and 70 degrees knee angle (range of motion 90-5 degrees ) during maximal voluntary eccentric and concentric knee extensor actions at 30, 90, and 270 degrees.s(-1). Changes in strength of the trained legs revealed more signs of specificity related to velocity and contraction type after eccentric than concentric training. No major training effects were present in eccentric to concentric ratios of agonist EMG or in relative antagonist (hamstring) activation. Thus, for the trained leg, the muscle action type and speed specific changes in maximal voluntary eccentric strength could not be related to any effects on neural mechanisms, such as a selective increase in muscle activation during eccentric actions. Interestingly, with both types of training there were specific cross-education effects, that is, action type and velocity specific increases in strength occurred in the contralateral, untrained, leg, accompanied by a specific increase in eccentric to concentric EMG ratio after eccentric training.

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