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Hypertrophic Effects of Concentric vs. Eccentric Muscle Actions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Schoenfeld, Brad J.1; Ogborn, Dan I.2; Vigotsky, Andrew D.3; Franchi, Martino V.4; Krieger, James W.5

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: September 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 9 - p 2599–2608
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001983
Brief Review

Schoenfeld, BJ, Ogborn, DI, Vigotsky, AD, Franchi, MV, and Krieger, JW. Hypertrophic effects of concentric vs. eccentric muscle actions: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res 31(9): 2599–2608, 2017—Controversy exists as to whether different dynamic muscle actions produce divergent hypertrophic responses. The purpose of this paper was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the hypertrophic effects of concentric vs. eccentric training in healthy adults after regimented resistance training (RT). Studies were deemed eligible for inclusion if they met the following criteria: (a) were an experimental trial published in an English-language refereed journal; (b) directly compared concentric and eccentric actions without the use of external implements (i.e., blood pressure cuffs) and all other RT variables equivalent; (c) measured morphologic changes using biopsy, imaging (magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, or ultrasound), bioelectrical impedance, and/or densitometry; (d) had a minimum duration of 6 weeks; and (e) used human participants without musculoskeletal injury or any health condition that could directly, or through the medications associated with the management of said condition, be expected to impact the hypertrophic response to resistance exercise. A systematic literature search determined that 15 studies met inclusion criteria. Results showed that eccentric muscle actions resulted in a greater effect size (ES) compared with concentric actions, but results did not reach statistical significance (ES difference = 0.25 ± 0.13; 95% confidence interval: −0.03 to 0.52; p = 0.076). The mean percent change in muscle growth across studies favored eccentric compared with concentric actions (10.0% vs. 6.8, respectively). The findings indicate the importance of including eccentric and concentric actions in a hypertrophy-oriented RT program, as both have shown to be effective in increasing muscle hypertrophy.

1Department of Health Science, Lehman College, Bronx, New York;

2Total Rehabilitation and Sports Injuries Clinic, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada;

3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois;

4MRC-ARUK Center of Excellence for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Derby, United Kingdom; and

5Weightology, LLC, Issaquah, Washington

Address correspondence to Dr. Brad J. Schoenfeld, brad@workout911.com.

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.