European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 7, pp 1581–1590 | Cite as

Comparison between eccentric and concentric resistance exercise training without equipment for changes in muscle strength and functional fitness of older adults

  • Yoshihiro KatsuraEmail author
  • Noriko Takeda
  • Taketaka Hara
  • Sho Takahashi
  • Kazunori Nosaka
Original Article



The present study tested the hypothesis that resistance exercise training focusing on eccentric muscle contractions would improve muscle strength and functional physical fitness more than concentric contraction-focused resistance training in older adults.


Healthy older adults (65–84 years) were placed into eccentric (ECC; n = 9) or concentric training group (CON; n = 8). They performed 4–6 basic manual resistance exercises focusing on either eccentric or concentric muscle contractions once at a community centre and at least twice at home a week for 8 weeks. Muscle thickness of the quadriceps femoris (MT), knee extensor maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (MVC), 30-second chair stand (CS), 3-metre timed up and go (TUG), 2-minute step (2MS), sit and reach (SR), and static balance with eyes open and closed (Bal-EC) were assessed before and 7 days after the last community centre session.


Changes in MT (ECC: 21.6 ± 9.2% vs CON: 6.7 ± 7.1%), MVC (38.3 ± 22.6% vs 8.2 ± 8.4%), CS (51.0 ± 21.7% vs 34.6 ± 28.3%), TUG (16.7 ± 9.9% vs 6.3 ± 7.7%), 2MS (9.9 ± 6.0% vs 6.0 ± 7.3%) and Bal-EC (35.1 ± 6.7% vs 8.8 ± 16.2%) from baseline were greater (P < 0.05) for the ECC than the CON group.


These results show that the eccentric manual resistance exercise training was more effective for improving lower limb strength, mobility, and postural stability of older adults when compared with the concentric training. This suggests the significance of emphasising eccentric muscle contractions in movements to maintain and improve physical function.


Maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength Muscle thickness 30-second chair stand 3-metre timed up and go 2-minute step Static balance 



Activities of daily living


Body mass


Body mass index


Coefficient of variation

CON group

Concentric resistance exercise training group


Diastolic blood pressure

ECC group

Eccentric resistance exercise training group


Heart rate


Maximal voluntary isometric contraction


Quality of life


Rating of perceived exertion


Systolic blood pressure


Trail making test



We would like to appreciate the participants in the present study.

Author contributions

YK and KN conceived and designed this research project; YK instructed the exercise sessions and took the measurements with HT, NT and ST, KN provided advice on the research process; YK analysed the data, all contributed to the discussion of the data; and YK and KN drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University Institutional Review Boards for Human Subjects and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Promotion of Higher EducationKogakuin UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, Department of Health and Physical EducationShimane UniversityShimaneJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Sports and Health ScienceDaito Bunka UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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