Weekly minimum frequency of one maximal eccentric contraction to increase muscle strength of the elbow flexors
European Journal of Applied Physiology
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Human Performance
Purpose: Our previous study showed that one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction a day performed 5 days a week for 4 weeks (5DW) increased maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) strength of the elbow flexors more than 10%. The present study examined whether muscle strength would still increase when the frequency was reduced to 2 days or 3 days per week. Methods: Twenty-six healthy young adults were recruited in the present study and placed to two groups (n = 13/group) based on the weekly frequency of the one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction for two (2DW) or three days per week (3DW) for 4 weeks. Changes in MVC-isometric, MVC-concentric, MVC-eccentric torque of the elbow flexors, and muscle thickness of biceps brachii and brachialis (MT) before and after the 4-week training were compared between 2DW and 3DW groups, and also compared to the 5DW group in the previous study. Results: The 2DW group showed no significant changes in MVC torque. Significant (P < 0.05) increases in MVC-concentric (2.5 ± 10.4%) and MVC-eccentric (3.9 ± 4.9%) torque were observed for the 3DW group, but the magnitude of the increase was smaller (P < 0.05) than that presented by the 5DW group (12.8 ± 9.6%, 12.2 ± 7.8%). No significant changes in MT were evident for any of the groups. Conclusion: These results suggest that at least three days a week are necessary for the one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction to be effective for increasing muscle strength, and more frequent sessions in a week (e.g., 5 days) appear to induce greater increases in muscle strength.