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Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;35(7):559-65. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1358471. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

Chronic eccentric cycling improves quadriceps muscle structure and maximum cycling power.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.
Sport Science and Research, The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Murray, Utah, United States.
Department of Exercise Science and STEM, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, United States.


An interesting finding from eccentric exercise training interventions is the presence of muscle hypertrophy without changes in maximum concentric strength and/or power. The lack of improvements in concentric strength and/or power could be due to long lasting suppressive effects on muscle force production following eccentric training. Thus, improvements in concentric strength and/or power might not be detected until muscle tissue has recovered (e. g., several weeks post-training). We evaluated alterations in muscular structure (rectus-femoris, RF, and vastus lateralis, VL, thickness and pennation angles) and maximum concentric cycling power (Pmax) 1-week following 8-weeks of eccentric cycling training (2×/week; 5-10.5 min; 20-55% of Pmax). Pmax was assessed again at 8-weeks post-training. At 1 week post-training, RF and VL thickness increased by 24±4% and 13±2%, respectively, and RF and VL pennation angles increased by 31±4% and 13±1%, respectively (all P<0.05). Compared to pre-training values, Pmax increased by 5±1% and 9±2% at 1 and 8 weeks post-training, respectively (both P<0.05). These results demonstrate that short-duration high-intensity eccentric cycling can be a time-effective intervention for improving muscular structure and function in the lower body of healthy individuals. The larger Pmax increase detected at 8-weeks post-training implies that sufficient recovery might be necessary to fully detect changes in muscular power after eccentric cycling training.

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