Eccentric ergometry: Increases in locomotor muscle size and strength at low training intensities

P. C. Lastayo, D. J. Pierotti, J. Pifer, H. Hoppeler, S. L. Lindstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Lengthening (eccentric) muscle contractions are characterized by several unusual properties that may result in unique skeletal muscle adaptations. In particular, high forces are produced with very little energy demand. Eccentrically trained muscles gain strength, but the specific nature of fiber size and composition is poorly known. This study assesses the structural and functional changes that occur to normal locomotor muscle after chronic eccentric ergometry at training intensities, measured as oxygen uptake, that do not influence the muscle when exercised concentrically. Male subjects trained on either eccentric or concentric cycle ergometers for 8 wk at a training intensity starting at 54% and ending at 65% of their peak heart rates. The isometric leg strength increased significantly in the eccentrically trained group by 36%, as did the cross-sectional area of the muscle fiber by 52%, but the muscle ultrastructure remained unchanged. There were no changes in either fiber size, composition, or isometric strength in the concentrically trained group. The responses of muscle to eccentric training appear to be similar to resistance training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1282-R1288
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 47-5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Oxygen consumption
  • Strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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