Hortobagyi, T., Barrier, J., Beard, D., Braspennincx, J., Koens, P., De Vita, P., Dempsey, L., Israel, R., & Lambert, J. (1996). Greater adaptations with submaximal muscle lengthening than maximal shortening contractions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28(5), Supplement abstract 761.

It has been known for a long time that the strength demands of eccentric contractions far exceed those of concentric contractions in a coordinated movement. Studies which have used maximal eccentric load versus maximal concentric load have shown superior strength gains for eccentric training. This study controlled for load so that both forms of contraction were overloaded by the same amount. Ss were women.

Eccentric contractions were still shown to develop significantly greater strength gains than concentric contractions despite the similarity of loads. The following table indicates what resulted.

Training condition                        Improvements
                     Concentric           Isometric          Eccentric
Eccentric                13%	             30%               42%
Concentric               36%	             18%               13%

Each form of contraction improved its like condition supporting the specificity of strength training. Improvements in eccentric and isometric strength under the eccentric training condition were significantly greater than that achieved with concentric training.

Implication. Eccentric strength training, even under submaximal eccentric loads, produces better strength gains than concentric training. This suggests this might be a better form of rehabilitation strength training. However, the specificity of effects further support the contention that strength training is particularly specific and is likely to have little transfer to whole-body sporting activities.

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