Centre for Human Performance / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Edith Cowan University
For decades, researchers have observed that eccentric (ECC) muscle strength is greater than concentric (CON) muscle strength. However, knowledge of the ECC:CON strength ratio is incomplete and might inform resistance exercise prescriptions. Our purposes were to determine the magnitude of the ECC:CON ratio of human skeletal muscle in vivo and explore if sex, age, joint actions/exercises, and movement velocity impact it. A total of 340 studies were identified through searches. It was possible to analyse 1516 ECC:CON ratios, aggregated from 12,546 individuals who made up 564 groups in 335 of the identified studies. Approximately 98% of measurements occurred on isokinetic machines. Bayesian meta-analyses were performed using log-ratios as response variables then exponentiated back to raw ratios. The overall main model estimate for the ECC:CON ratio was 1.41 (95% credible interval [CI] 1.38–1.44). The ECC:CON ratio was slightly less in men (1.38 [CI 1.34–1.41]) than women (1.47 [CI 1.43–1.51]), and greater in older adults (1.62 [CI 1.57–1.68]) than younger adults (1.39 [CI 1.36–1.42]). The ratio was similar between grouped upper-body (1.42 [CI 1.38–1.46]) and lower-body joint actions/exercises (1.40 [CI 1.37–1.44]). However, heterogeneity in the ratio existed across joint actions/exercises, with point estimates ranging from 1.32 to 2.61. The ECC:CON ratio was most greatly impacted by movement velocity, with a 0.20% increase in the ratio for every 1°/s increase in velocity. The results show that ECC muscle strength is ~ 40% greater than CON muscle strength. However, the ECC:CON ratio is greatly affected by movement velocity and to lesser extents age and sex. Differences between joint actions/exercises likely exist, but more data are needed to provide more precise estimates.
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