Greater effects by performing a small number of eccentric contractions daily than a larger number of them once a week
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Centre for Human Performance / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Our previous study found that one maximal voluntary eccentric contraction (MVC-ECC) performed daily for 5 days a week for 4 weeks increased MVC-ECC, isometric (MVC-ISO), and concentric contraction (MVC-CON) torque of the elbow flexors more than 10 %. The present study investigated the effects of six maximal voluntary eccentric contractions on the MVC torques and biceps brachii and brachialis muscle thickness (MT). Thirty-six healthy young adults were placed to one of the three groups (N = 12 per group); the 6 × 1 group that performed one set of six contractions once a week, the 6 × 5 group that performed one set of six contractions a day for 5 days a week, and the 30 × 1 group that performed five sets of six contractions a day in a week. The training duration was 4 weeks for all groups, and changes in MVC-ECC, MVC-CON and MVC-ISO torque, and MT before and after the 4-week training were compared among the groups. The 6 × 1 group did not show significant changes in muscle strength and MT. Significant (p < 0.05) increases in MVC-ECC (13.5 ± 11.5 %), MVC-ISO (9.3 ± 5.5 %), MVC-CON torque (11.1 ± 7.4 %) were evident for the 6 × 5 group only, and increases in MT were found for the 6 × 5 (10.4 ± 4.4 %) and 30 × 1 (8.0 ± 5.8 %) groups without a significant difference. These results suggest that performing a small number of eccentric contractions 5 days a week is more effective for increasing muscle strength than performing a larger volume of eccentric contractions once a week. However, it appears that training volume is a factor for muscle hypertrophy in a short-term training.