The role of metabolites in strength training

I. A comparison of eccentric and concentric contractions
  • R. Carey Smith
  • O. M. Rutherford
Original Article


This study examined the role of high forces versus metabolic cost in the adaptations following strength training. Ten young, healthy male and female subjects trained one leg using concentric (CL) and the other using eccentric (EL) contractions of the quadriceps muscle for 20 weeks. EL used weights which were 35% higher than those used for CL. Isometric strength, and the length: tension and force: velocity relationship of the muscle were measured before and after training. Muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured near the knee and hip using computed tomography. Increases in isometric strength were greater for CL compared to EL, the difference being significant with the knee at 1.57 rad (90°) [mean (SD), 43.7 (19.6)% vs 22.9 (9.8)%, respectively; P = 0.01]. Increases in isokinetic strength tended to be larger for EL, although the differences were not significant. Significant increases in CSA occurred near the hip for both EL and CL. These results suggest that metabolic cost, and not high forces alone, are involved in the stimuli for muscle hypertrophy and strength gains following high-resistance training.

Key words

Muscle strength Hypertrophy Concentric contractions Eccentric contractions Strength training 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Carey Smith
    • 1
  • O. M. Rutherford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologySt. Mary's Hospital Medical SchoolNorfolk PlaceUK

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