Our previous study showed that one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction a day performed 5 days a week for 4 weeks (5DW) increased maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) strength of the elbow flexors more than 10%. The present study examined whether muscle strength would still increase when the frequency was reduced to 2 days or 3 days per week.
Twenty-six healthy young adults were recruited in the present study and placed to two groups (n = 13/group) based on the weekly frequency of the one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction for two (2DW) or three days per week (3DW) for 4 weeks. Changes in MVC-isometric, MVC-concentric, MVC-eccentric torque of the elbow flexors, and muscle thickness of biceps brachii and brachialis (MT) before and after the 4-week training were compared between 2DW and 3DW groups, and also compared to the 5DW group in the previous study.
The 2DW group showed no significant changes in MVC torque. Significant (P < 0.05) increases in MVC-concentric (2.5 ± 10.4%) and MVC-eccentric (3.9 ± 4.9%) torque were observed for the 3DW group, but the magnitude of the increase was smaller (P < 0.05) than that presented by the 5DW group (12.8 ± 9.6%, 12.2 ± 7.8%). No significant changes in MT were evident for any of the groups.
These results suggest that at least three days a week are necessary for the one 3-s maximal eccentric contraction to be effective for increasing muscle strength, and more frequent sessions in a week (e.g., 5 days) appear to induce greater increases in muscle strength.
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Analysis of variance
Cortical silent period
Maximal voluntary contraction
Maximum voluntary concentric contraction
Maximum voluntary eccentric contraction
Maximum voluntary isometric contraction
Root mean square
World Health Organization
Two days a week
Three days a week
Five days a week
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The authors gratefully acknowledge all participants involved in this study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research involving human participants
All procedures in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Niigata University of Health and Welfare (#18,202).
Informed consent was obtained from each participant involved in the study.
Communicated by Michalis G Nikolaidis.
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Yoshida, R., Kasahara, K., Murakami, Y. et al. Weekly minimum frequency of one maximal eccentric contraction to increase muscle strength of the elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-023-05281-6