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Comparison between concentric-only, eccentric-only, and concentric–eccentric resistance training of the elbow flexors for their effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy



This study compared concentric–eccentric coupled (CON-ECC), concentric-only (CON), and eccentric-only (ECC) resistance training of the elbow flexors for their effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy.


Non-resistance-trained young adults were assigned to one of the four groups: CON-ECC (n = 14), CON (n = 14) and ECC (n = 14) training groups, and a control group (n = 11) that had measurements only. The training group participants performed dominant arm elbow flexor resistance training in extended elbow joint angles (0°–50°) twice a week for 5 weeks. The total training volume (dumbbell weight × number of contractions) in CON-ECC (5745 ± 1020 kg) was double of that in CON (2930 ± 859 kg) and ECC (3035 ± 844 kg), because 3 sets of 10 contractions were performed for both directions in CON-ECC. Maximum voluntary isometric (MVC-ISO), concentric (MVC-CON), and eccentric contraction (MVC-ECC) torque of the elbow flexors and biceps brachii and brachialis muscle thickness (MT) were measured at baseline, and 3–9 days post-last training session.


No significant changes in any measures were evident for the control group. The CON-ECC and ECC groups showed increases (P < 0.05) in MVC-ISO (12.0 ± 15.7% and 11.3 ± 10.8%, respectively) and MVC-ECC torque (12.5 ± 18.3%, 16.2 ± 11.0%) similarly. Increases in MVC-CON torque (P < 0.05) were evident for the CON-ECC (17.5 ± 13.5%), CON (10.5 ± 12.8%), and ECC (14.2 ± 10.4%) groups without a significant difference among groups. MT increased (P < 0.01) after CON-ECC (10.6 ± 5.4%) and ECC (9.7 ± 7.2%) similarly, but not significantly after CON (2.5 ± 4.8%).


ECC training increased muscle strength and thickness similarly to CON-ECC training, despite the half training volume, suggesting that concentric contractions contributed little to the training effects.

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Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the article. However, if any additional data are necessary, it will be provided upon proper request.



Analysis of variance


Concentric-eccentric coupled contraction


Concentric-only contraction


Eccentric-only contraction


Effect size


Muscle thickness


Maximum voluntary contraction


Maximum voluntary isometric contraction


Maximum voluntary concentric contraction


Maximum voluntary eccentric contraction


Range of motion


Standard deviation


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The authors gratefully acknowledge all participants involved in this study, and the grant from the Yamaha Motor Foundation for Sports.


This work was partially supported by the Yamaha Motor Foundation for Sports (Japan).

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Authors and Affiliations



SS designed the study, performed data collection, drafted, and revised the manuscript. RY, FM, YS, KY, KK, and MN contributed to the data collection and revisions of the manuscript. JPN, KN, and MN were involved in designing the study, analyzing, and interpreting the data, and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masatoshi Nakamura.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants

All the procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Niigata University of Health and Welfare (#18442).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Additional information

Communicated by Philip D Chilibeck.

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Sato, S., Yoshida, R., Murakoshi, F. et al. Comparison between concentric-only, eccentric-only, and concentric–eccentric resistance training of the elbow flexors for their effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy. Eur J Appl Physiol 122, 2607–2614 (2022).

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