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Weekly minimum frequency of one maximal eccentric contraction to increase muscle strength of the elbow flexors

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A Correction to this article was published on 07 September 2023

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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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Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the article.

Change history



Analysis of variance


Cortical silent period


Effect size


Muscle thickness


Maximal voluntary contraction


Maximum voluntary concentric contraction


Maximum voluntary eccentric contraction


Maximum voluntary isometric contraction


Root mean square


Standard deviation


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.



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Authors and Affiliations



RY, KN and MN designed the study. RY, KK, YM, SS, MT and MN collected the data, and RY, KN and MN analyzed the data, drafted 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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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

Informed consent was obtained from each participant involved in the study.

Additional information

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 124, 329–339 (2024).

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