The need for eccentric speed: A narrative review of the effects of accelerated eccentric actions during resistance-based training
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Eccentric training as a method to enhance athletic performance is a topic of increasing interest to both practitioners and researchers. However, data regarding the effects of performing the eccentric actions of an exercise at increased velocities are limited. This narrative review aimed to provide greater clarity for eccentric methods and classification with regard to temporal phases of exercises. Between March and April 2021, we used key terms to search the PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Google Scholar databases within the years 1950–2021. Search terms included ‘fast eccentric’, ‘fast velocity eccentric’, ‘dynamic eccentric’, ‘accentuated eccentric loading’, and ‘isokinetic eccentric’, analysing both the acute and the chronic effects of accelerated eccentric training in human participants. Review of the 26 studies that met the inclusion criteria identified that completing eccentric tempos of < 2 s increased subsequent concentric one repetition maximum performance, velocity, and power compared with > 4 s tempos. Tempos of > 4 s duration increased time under tension (TUT), whereas reduced tempos allowed for greater volume to be completed. Greater TUT led to larger accumulation of blood lactate, growth hormone, and testosterone when volume was matched to that of the reduced tempos. Overall, evidence supports eccentric actions of < 2 s duration to improve subsequent concentric performance. There is no clear difference between using eccentric tempos of 2–6 s if the aim is to increase hypertrophic response and strength. Future research should analyse the performance of eccentric actions at greater velocities or reduced time durations to determine more factors such as strength response. Tempo studies should aim to complete the same TUT for protocols to determine measures for hypertrophic response.