Sorichter, S., Mair, J., Koller, A., Secnik, P. Parrak, V., Haid, C., Muller, E. & Puschendorf, B. (1997). Muscular adaptation and strength during the early phase of eccentric training: Influence of the training frequency. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29, 1646-1652.

The effects of different training frequencies on maximum isometric voluntary contraction force and plasma concentrations of muscle proteins during the early stage of eccentric training were investigated. Training consisted of 7 x 10 high-force eccentric contractions involving the quadriceps muscles of the non-dominant leg over five weeks. Each contraction lasted 1-2 s with 15 seconds of rest between contractions. The seven sets were separated by 3-min rest periods. One group (N = 10) performed one training task once a week for five weeks. Another group (N = 10) trained twice per week for two weeks and three times a week for the remaining three weeks. A third group (N = 10) performed no training.

Only the multiple-set group recorded a significant increase in maximum isometric voluntary contraction force. Training significantly reduced the increase in serum muscle protein and muscle function impairment. The responses to the first and last testing in the control group were the same indicating no muscular adaptation.

Implication. In early eccentric strength training, performance benefits are more likely if there are several training sessions per week as opposed to a lone exercise.

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