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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 May;116(5):1021-30. doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3367-1. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Neural adaptations to submaximal isokinetic eccentric strength training.

Author information

Toulouse NeuroImaging Center, Université de Toulouse, Inserm, UPS, Toulouse, France.
Service de Médecine Physique et Réadaptation, CHU Toulouse Rangueil, Avenue du Pr Jean Poulhès, 31059, Toulouse, France.
Toulouse NeuroImaging Center, Université de Toulouse, Inserm, UPS, Toulouse, France.
Faculty of sport science, University Paul Sabatier, 118 route de Narbonne, 31062, Toulouse Cedex 9, France.



This study investigated the neural adaptations following submaximal isokinetic eccentric strength training of the plantar flexors. The modulation of electromyographic (EMG) activity and spinal excitability were compared in the soleus muscle (SOL) during isometric, concentric and eccentric maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) before and after submaximal isokinetic eccentric training.


Eighteen healthy subjects were divided into a training group (n = 8) and a control group (n = 10). The training protocol consisted of sixteen sessions of isokinetic eccentric strength training during 8 weeks. Normalized EMG was used to assess the activity of SOL and medial gastrocnemius muscle (MG). For SOL, maximal Hoffmann reflex (H-reflex) and compound motor potential were evoked during isometric, concentric and eccentric actions at rest (Hmax and Mmax, respectively) and during MVC (Hsup and Msup, respectively).


The results showed that the torque and normalized EMG of SOL significantly increased after training during eccentric (+20.5 and +28.8 %, respectively) and isometric (+18.2 and +23.0 %, respectively) MVC (p < 0.05). Hmax/Mmax and Hsup/Msup ratios were not significantly modified after training for SOL (p > 0.05), and remained significantly depressed during eccentric compared to isometric and concentric actions (p < 0.05). In contrast, no significant difference was observed on normalized EMG of MG (p > 0.05).


These results suggested that the increase in voluntary torque after submaximal isokinetic eccentric training can be at least partly ascribed to enhanced neural drive for SOL that does not affect the H-reflex pathway.


Anisometric contractions; H-reflex; Neurostimulation; Soleus

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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