Comparison between eccentric and concentric resistance exercise training without equipment for changes in muscle strength and functional fitness of older adults
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences
PURPOSE: The present study tested the hypothesis that resistance exercise training focusing on eccentric muscle contractions would improve muscle strength and functional physical fitness more than concentric contraction-focused resistance training in older adults.
METHODS: Healthy older adults (65-84 years) were placed into eccentric (ECC; n = 9) or concentric training group (CON; n = 8). They performed 4-6 basic manual resistance exercises focusing on either eccentric or concentric muscle contractions once at a community centre and at least twice at home a week for 8 weeks. Muscle thickness of the quadriceps femoris (MT), knee extensor maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (MVC), 30-second chair stand (CS), 3-metre timed up and go (TUG), 2-minute step (2MS), sit and reach (SR), and static balance with eyes open and closed (Bal-EC) were assessed before and 7 days after the last community centre session.
RESULTS: Changes in MT (ECC: 21.6 ± 9.2% vs CON: 6.7 ± 7.1%), MVC (38.3 ± 22.6% vs 8.2 ± 8.4%), CS (51.0 ± 21.7% vs 34.6 ± 28.3%), TUG (16.7 ± 9.9% vs 6.3 ± 7.7%), 2MS (9.9 ± 6.0% vs 6.0 ± 7.3%) and Bal-EC (35.1 ± 6.7% vs 8.8 ± 16.2%) from baseline were greater (P < 0.05) for the ECC than the CON group.
CONCLUSION: These results show that the eccentric manual resistance exercise training was more effective for improving lower limb strength, mobility, and postural stability of older adults when compared with the concentric training. This suggests the significance of emphasising eccentric muscle contractions in movements to maintain and improve physical function.