The aim of the study was to investigate the rate of force development (RFD) and muscle architecture early adaptations in response to training with fast- or slow-velocity eccentric squats. Eighteen young novice participants followed six weeks (two sessions/week) of either fast-velocity (Fast) or slow-velocity (Slow) squat eccentric-only training. Fast eccentric training consisted of nine sets of nine eccentric-only repetitions at 70% of 1-RM with <1 s duration for each repetition. Slow eccentric training consisted of five sets of six eccentric-only repetitions at 90% of 1-RM with ~4 sec duration for each repetition. Before and after training, squat 1-RM, countermovement jump (CMJ), isometric leg press RFD, and vastus lateralis muscle architecture were evaluated. Squat 1-RM increased by 14.5 ± 7.0% (Fast, p
< 0.01) and by 5.4 ± 5.1% (Slow, p
< 0.05). RFD and fascicle length increased significantly in the Fast group by 10–19% and 10.0 ± 6.2%, p
< 0.01, respectively. Muscle thickness increased only in the Slow group (6.0 ± 6.8%, p
< 0.05). Significant correlations were found between the training induced changes in fascicle length and RFD. These results suggest that fast eccentric resistance training may be more appropriate for increases in rapid force production compared to slow eccentric resistance training, and this may be partly due to increases in muscle fascicle length induced by fast eccentric training.
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