Author(s): Vogt M, Hoppeler HH
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Abstract The aim of the current review is to discuss applications and mechanism of eccentric exercise in training regimes of competitive sports. Eccentric muscle work is important in most sports. Eccentric muscle contractions enhance the performance during the concentric phase of stretch-shortening cycles, which is important in disciplines like sprinting, jumping, throwing, and running. Muscles activated during lengthening movements can also function as shock absorbers, to decelerate during landing tasks or to precisely deal with high external loading in sports like alpine skiing. The few studies available on trained subjects reveal that eccentric training can further enhance maximal muscle strength and power. It can further optimize muscle length for maximal tension development at a greater degree of extension, and has potential to improve muscle coordination during eccentric tasks. In skeletal muscles, these functional adaptations are based on increases in muscle mass, fascicle length, number of sarcomeres, and cross-sectional area of type II fibers. Identified modalities for eccentric loading in athletic populations involve classical isotonic exercises, accentuated jumping exercises, eccentric overloading exercises, and eccentric cycle ergometry. We conclude that eccentric exercise offers a promising training modality to enhance performance and to prevent injuries in athletes. However, further research is necessary to better understand how the neuromuscular system adapts to eccentric loading in athletes. Copyright © 2014 the American Physiological Society.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies