Sports Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 10, pp 1413–1430 | Cite as

Chronic Eccentric Exercise and the Older Adult

  • Ashley Gluchowski
  • Nigel Harris
  • Deborah Dulson
  • John Cronin
Review Article


Eccentric exercise has gained increasing attention as a suitable and promising intervention to delay or mitigate the known physical and physiological declines associated with aging. Determining the relative efficacy of eccentric exercise when compared with the more conventionally prescribed traditional resistance exercise will support evidence-based prescribing for the aging population. Thus, original research studies incorporating chronic eccentric exercise interventions in the older adult population were included in this review. The effects of a range of eccentric exercise modalities on muscular strength, functional capacity, body composition, muscle architecture, markers of muscle damage, the immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, and rating of perceived exertion were all reviewed as outcomes of particular interest in the older adult. Muscular strength was found to increase most consistently compared with results from traditional resistance exercise. Functional capacity and body composition showed significant improvements with eccentric endurance protocols, especially in older, frail or sedentary cohorts. Muscle damage was avoided with the gradual progression of novel eccentric exercise, while muscle damage from intense acute bouts was significantly attenuated with repeated sessions. Eccentric exercise causes little cardiovascular stress; thus, it may not generate the overload required to elicit cardiovascular adaptations. An anabolic state may be achievable following eccentric exercise, while improvements to insulin sensitivity have not been found. Finally, rating of perceived exertion during eccentric exercise was often significantly lower than during traditional resistance exercise. Overall, evidence supports the prescription of eccentric exercise for the majority of outcomes of interest in the diverse cohorts of the older adult population.


Muscle Damage Muscular Strength Eccentric Exercise Delay Onset Muscle Soreness Berg Balance Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.

Conflict of interest

Ashley Gluchowski, Nigel Harris, Deborah Dulson and John Cronin have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Gluchowski
    • 1
  • Nigel Harris
    • 1
  • Deborah Dulson
    • 1
  • John Cronin
    • 1
  1. 1.Auckland University of Technology, Human Potential CentreAucklandNew Zealand

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