Eccentric Exercise: Adaptations and Applications for Health and Performance

A special issue of Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology (ISSN 2411-5142). This special issue belongs to the section "Athletic Training and Human Performance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019) | Viewed by 92931

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Physical Therapy Program, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA
Interests: rehabilitation; aging; kinesiology; body composition; musculoskeletal disorders; strength and conditioning; health promotion

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Guest Editor
Muscle Morphology, Mechanics, and Performance Laboratory, Washington DC VA Medical Center, and the Department of Health, Human Function, and Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
Interests: fatigability; neuromuscular physiology; rehabilitation; human performance; resistance training

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4226, Australia
Interests: biomechanics; motor control and learning; resistance training; sarcopenia; strength and conditioning; team sports
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Eccentric muscle actions—which yield net force production during active muscle lengthening—remain both a scientific curiosity and a ubiquitous element of mobility and task performance. Over 90 years have passed since A. V. Hill and his protégé, Wallace Fenn, provided keen insights into what physiologists now regard as the “negative Fenn effect”, whereby a given force produced through eccentric muscle actions requires lower metabolic cost in comparison to isometric and concentric muscle actions. Incremental advances have given rise to important findings regarding the bioenergetics of eccentric muscle actions and the peculiarities of the force–velocity curve during “negative work” exercises. Methods ranging from molecular approaches and various bioimaging techniques to mechanical modeling have led to important lines of investigation, including the “winding filament” hypothesis and the role of titin in active force enhancement, the impact of in vivo muscle mechanics on eccentric force production, variation in neuromuscular activation strategies based on muscle action mode, and the differential morphological muscle and tendon adaptions that result from chronic eccentric muscle actions.

Importantly, the unique characteristics of eccentric muscle actions have stimulated interest in the use of eccentric exercise in a wide variety of experimental and applied settings. The application of eccentric exercise has evolved from a model to induce muscle damage under laboratory conditions, to selected forms of strengthening exercise used to enhance sports performance, and most recently as an approach to identify musculoskeletal injury risk in sport and as a form of therapeutic exercise for clinical and athletic populations. Despite advancements in the understanding of the benefits of eccentric exercise, fundamental questions regarding optimal exercise prescription remain. This Special Issue of the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology will focus on addressing the existing evidence gaps concerning the mechanisms of eccentric muscle exercise adaptations and the emerging applications of this unique form of exercise. Topics may include, but are not limited to, those addressing the adaptive changes in muscle ultrastructure and gross morphology, the neurophysiological control of eccentric muscle actions, the interaction of tissue and joint mechanics during eccentric muscle actions, dosage–response paradigms for eccentric exercise in sport and clinical populations, and feasibility or efficacy evidence concerning the use of eccentric muscle actions for the quantification of injury risk rehabilitation purposes.

Dr. Michael O. Harris-Love
Dr. Jared M Gollie
Dr. Justin Keogh
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • eccentric muscle actions
  • rehabilitation
  • skeletal muscle
  • eccentric exercise
  • motor control
  • strength
  • morphology
  • ultrastructure
  • bioenergetics
  • muscle activation
  • cell signaling
  • inflammation
  • ageing
  • chronic disease

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Review

12 pages, 1304 KiB  
Review
Eccentric Exercise: Adaptations and Applications for Health and Performance
by Michael O. Harris-Love, Jared M. Gollie and Justin W. L. Keogh
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2021, 6(4), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk6040096 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 7547
Abstract
The goals of this narrative review are to provide a brief overview of the muscle and tendon adaptations to eccentric resistance exercise and address the applications of this form of training to aid rehabilitative interventions and enhance sports performance. This work is centered [...] Read more.
The goals of this narrative review are to provide a brief overview of the muscle and tendon adaptations to eccentric resistance exercise and address the applications of this form of training to aid rehabilitative interventions and enhance sports performance. This work is centered on the author contributions to the Special Issue entitled “Eccentric Exercise: Adaptations and Applications for Health and Performance”. The major themes from the contributing authors include the need to place greater attention on eccentric exercise mode selection based on training goals and individual fitness level, optimal approaches to implementing eccentric resistance exercise for therapeutic purposes, factors that affect the use of eccentric exercise across the lifespan, and general recommendations to integrate eccentric exercise in athletic training regimens. The authors propose that movement velocity and the absorption or recovery of kinetic energy are critical components of eccentric exercise programming. Regarding the therapeutic use of eccentric resistance training, patient-level factors regarding condition severity, fitness level, and stage of rehabilitation should govern the plan of care. In athletic populations, use of eccentric exercise may improve movement competency and promote improved safety and performance of sport-specific tasks. Eccentric resistance training is a viable option for youth, young adults, and older adults when the exercise prescription appropriately addresses program goals, exercise tolerability, and compliance. Despite the benefits of eccentric exercise, several key questions remain unanswered regarding its application underscoring the need for further investigation. Full article
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33 pages, 1701 KiB  
Review
Eccentric Resistance Training in Youth: Perspectives for Long-Term Athletic Development
by Benjamin Drury, Sébastien Ratel, Cain C.T. Clark, John F.T. Fernandes, Jason Moran and David G Behm
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4040070 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6608
Abstract
The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss the role of eccentric resistance training in youth and how this training modality can be utilized within long-term physical development. Current literature on responses to eccentric exercise in youth has demonstrated that potential concerns, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss the role of eccentric resistance training in youth and how this training modality can be utilized within long-term physical development. Current literature on responses to eccentric exercise in youth has demonstrated that potential concerns, such as fatigue and muscle damage, compared to adults are not supported. Considering the importance of resistance training for youth athletes and the benefits of eccentric training in enhancing strength, power, speed, and resistance to injury, its inclusion throughout youth may be warranted. In this review we provide a brief overview of the physiological responses to exercise in youth with specific reference to the different responses to eccentric resistance training between children, adolescents, and adults. Thereafter, we discuss the importance of ensuring that force absorption qualities are trained throughout youth and how these may be influenced by growth and maturation. In particular, we propose practical methods on how eccentric resistance training methods can be implemented in youth via the inclusion of efficient landing mechanics, eccentric hamstrings strengthening and flywheel inertia training. This article proposes that the use of eccentric resistance training in youth should be considered a necessity to help develop both physical qualities that underpin sporting performance, as well as reducing injury risk. However, as with any other training modality implemented within youth, careful consideration should be given in accordance with an individual’s maturity status, training history and technical competency as well as being underpinned by current long-term physical development guidelines. Full article
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18 pages, 499 KiB  
Review
Eccentric Training Interventions and Team Sport Athletes
by Conor McNeill, C. Martyn Beaven, Daniel T. McMaster and Nicholas Gill
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4040067 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5978
Abstract
Eccentric resistance training has been shown to improve performance outcomes in a range of populations, making it a popular choice for practitioners. Evidence suggests that neuromuscular adaptations resulting from eccentric overload (EO) and accentuated eccentric loading (AEL) methods could benefit athletic populations competing [...] Read more.
Eccentric resistance training has been shown to improve performance outcomes in a range of populations, making it a popular choice for practitioners. Evidence suggests that neuromuscular adaptations resulting from eccentric overload (EO) and accentuated eccentric loading (AEL) methods could benefit athletic populations competing in team sports. The purpose of this review was to determine the effects of eccentric resistance training on performance qualities in trained male team sport athletes. A systematic review was conducted using electronic databases PubMed, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science in May 2019. The literature search resulted in 1402 initial articles, with 14 included in the final analysis. Variables related to strength, speed, power and change of direction ability were extracted and effect sizes were calculated with a correction for small sample size. Trivial, moderate and large effect sizes were reported for strength (−0.17 to 1.67), speed (−0.08 to 1.06), power (0.27 to 1.63) and change of direction (0.48 to 1.46) outcomes. Eccentric resistance training appears to be an effective stimulus for developing neuromuscular qualities in trained male team sport athletes. However, the range of effect sizes, testing protocols and training interventions suggest that more research is needed to better implement this type of training in athletic populations. Full article
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11 pages, 1274 KiB  
Review
Eccentric Overload Flywheel Training in Older Adults
by Kelsi Kowalchuk and Scotty Butcher
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4030061 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6330
Abstract
Age-related reductions in muscle strength and muscle power can have significant adverse effects on functional performance in older adults. Exercise training has been shown to be a potent stimulus for improvements in strength and power. However, investigation into how to best optimize training-related [...] Read more.
Age-related reductions in muscle strength and muscle power can have significant adverse effects on functional performance in older adults. Exercise training has been shown to be a potent stimulus for improvements in strength and power. However, investigation into how to best optimize training-related adaptations, as well as the accessibility of training methods, is needed. Traditional (TR) methods using gravity-dependent free-weights or weight machines can improve and maintain strength and power but are limited in their ability to provide constant muscle tension and high levels of muscle activation throughout the lowering (eccentric) phase of lifting. Eccentric overload (EO) training may overcome these limitations and has been shown to result in potent adaptations in both young and older adults. Methods of producing EO are significantly limited from a practical perspective. The addition of whole-body flywheel training equipment provides a practical method of producing EO and may be appropriate for older adults wanting to optimize training outcomes. Our review provides limited evidence of the use of eccentric overload flywheel training as a novel training method in seniors. Through the review of literature, EO training overcame some of the limitations set forth by traditional resistance training and demonstrated to have key benefits when combating age-related changes affecting muscle strength and muscle power. It can be concluded that EO training is an important addition to the training arsenal for older adults. Flywheel training provides a practical method of achieving EO, increasing strength and power, combating age-related adaptations, and overall improving quality of life in older adults. Full article
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9 pages, 701 KiB  
Review
Tendon Adaptations to Eccentric Exercise and the Implications for Older Adults
by Jonathan I Quinlan, Marco V Narici, Neil D Reeves and Martino V Franchi
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4030060 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4954
Abstract
The purpose of this short review is to discuss the effects of eccentric exercise in modifying the properties of tendon tissue in healthy individuals. The tendon provides a mechanical link between muscle and bone, allowing force transmission to the skeleton, and thus, its [...] Read more.
The purpose of this short review is to discuss the effects of eccentric exercise in modifying the properties of tendon tissue in healthy individuals. The tendon provides a mechanical link between muscle and bone, allowing force transmission to the skeleton, and thus, its properties have significant functional implications. Chronic resistance training has long been shown to increase the stiffness and Young’s modulus of the tendon and even tendon cross-sectional area. However, as the tendon responds to the amount and/or frequency of strain, it has been previously suggested that eccentric training may result in greater adaptations due to the potential for greater training loads. Thus, this review discusses the effects of eccentric training upon healthy tendon tissue and compares these to other training modalities. Furthermore, it has been reported that the tendon may undergo adverse age-related changes. Thus, this review also discusses the potential application of eccentric resistance training as a preferential modality for counteracting these age-related changes. We conclude that while there may be no difference between contraction types for overall tendon adaptation, the lower demands of eccentric contractions may make it more appealing for the elderly population. Full article
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20 pages, 1999 KiB  
Review
Implementing Eccentric Resistance Training—Part 2: Practical Recommendations
by Timothy J. Suchomel, John P. Wagle, Jamie Douglas, Christopher B. Taber, Mellissa Harden, G. Gregory Haff and Michael H. Stone
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4030055 - 09 Aug 2019
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 22417
Abstract
The purpose of this review is to provide strength and conditioning practitioners with recommendations on how best to implement tempo eccentric training (TEMPO), flywheel inertial training (FIT), accentuated eccentric loading (AEL), and plyometric training (PT) into resistance training programs that seek to improve [...] Read more.
The purpose of this review is to provide strength and conditioning practitioners with recommendations on how best to implement tempo eccentric training (TEMPO), flywheel inertial training (FIT), accentuated eccentric loading (AEL), and plyometric training (PT) into resistance training programs that seek to improve an athlete’s hypertrophy, strength, and power output. Based on the existing literature, TEMPO may be best implemented with weaker athletes to benefit positional strength and hypertrophy due to the time under tension. FIT may provide an effective hypertrophy, strength, and power stimulus for untrained and weaker individuals; however, stronger individuals may not receive the same eccentric (ECC) overload stimulus. Although AEL may be implemented throughout the training year to benefit hypertrophy, strength, and power output, this strategy is better suited for stronger individuals. When weaker and stronger individuals are exposed to PT, they are exposed to an ECC overload stimulus as a result of increases in the ECC force and ECC rate of force development. In conclusion, when choosing to utilize ECC training methods, the practitioner must integrate these methods into a holistic training program that is designed to improve the athlete’s performance capacity. Full article
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25 pages, 2101 KiB  
Review
Implementing Eccentric Resistance Training—Part 1: A Brief Review of Existing Methods
by Timothy J. Suchomel, John P. Wagle, Jamie Douglas, Christopher B. Taber, Mellissa Harden, G. Gregory Haff and Michael H. Stone
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4020038 - 24 Jun 2019
Cited by 86 | Viewed by 22534
Abstract
The purpose of this review was to provide a physiological rationale for the use of eccentric resistance training and to provide an overview of the most commonly prescribed eccentric training methods. Based on the existing literature, there is a strong physiological rationale for [...] Read more.
The purpose of this review was to provide a physiological rationale for the use of eccentric resistance training and to provide an overview of the most commonly prescribed eccentric training methods. Based on the existing literature, there is a strong physiological rationale for the incorporation of eccentric training into a training program for an individual seeking to maximize muscle size, strength, and power. Specific adaptations may include an increase in muscle cross-sectional area, force output, and fiber shortening velocities, all of which have the potential to benefit power production characteristics. Tempo eccentric training, flywheel inertial training, accentuated eccentric loading, and plyometric training are commonly implemented in applied contexts. These methods tend to involve different force absorption characteristics and thus, overload the muscle or musculotendinous unit in different ways during lengthening actions. For this reason, they may produce different magnitudes of improvement in hypertrophy, strength, and power. The constraints to which they are implemented can have a marked effect on the characteristics of force absorption and therefore, could affect the nature of the adaptive response. However, the versatility of the constraints when prescribing these methods mean that they can be effectively implemented to induce these adaptations within a variety of populations. Full article
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14 pages, 1234 KiB  
Review
Eccentric Exercise for Achilles Tendinopathy: A Narrative Review and Clinical Decision-Making Considerations
by Dhinu J. Jayaseelan, John J. Mischke and Raymond L. Strazzulla
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2019, 4(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4020034 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 15410
Abstract
Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a common health condition encountered in the orthopedic and sports medicine settings. Eccentric exercise is a common intervention in the management of pain and limited function for this patient population, although contemporary evidence suggests additional exercise methods may be [...] Read more.
Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a common health condition encountered in the orthopedic and sports medicine settings. Eccentric exercise is a common intervention in the management of pain and limited function for this patient population, although contemporary evidence suggests additional exercise methods may be effective as well. Study design: Narrative review: Methods: A literature review was performed using the electronic databases Pubmed and PEDRO for articles through February 2019. Randomized clinical trials integrating eccentric exercise, with or without co-interventions, were evaluated. Outcomes related to pain and/or function were considered. A patient case is provided to highlight decision making processes related to clinical prescription of eccentrics for Achilles tendinopathy. Results: After screening titles and abstracts, seven studies were included for full review. Two articles compared eccentric exercise to a control group, four compared eccentrics to the use of modalities, while one used eccentric exercise as part of a multimodal intervention. In each case, eccentric exercise was effective in reducing pain and improving function. In comparison to other forms of exercise or additional interventions, eccentric exercise was frequently not more effective than other options. Discussion: Eccentric exercise has been associated with clinical benefit in improving pain and function for patients with Achilles tendinopathy. Despite the available evidence reporting effectiveness of eccentrics, other options may be equally useful. Appropriate load modification and exercise prescription for patients with Achilles tendinopathy requires systematic clinical reasoning and incorporation of patient values to optimize outcomes. Full article
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