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Phys Ther. 1988 Feb;68(2):233-7.

Physiology and therapeutic implications of negative work. A review.

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School of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Energy efficiency is an important attribute of negative work (W neg). Eccentric muscle contractions characteristic of W neg can generate greater force at reduced oxygen cost and perceived exertion compared with concentric muscle contractions in positive work (W pos). Thus, activities incorporating W neg could have important implications in improving the functional capacity of an individual with limited physiologic reserves or ability to use these reserves. Other characteristics of W neg such as muscle trauma or soreness and increased total heat production and cutaneous blood flow, however, may be counter-therapeutic and even hazardous. The purpose of this review is to describe the physiology and therapeutic implications of W neg. Because the body of knowledge with respect to the therapeutic effects of W neg is relatively scant compared with W pos, clinical trials are needed to establish the indications, contraindications, possible limitations, guidelines for prescription, and therapeutic efficacy of W neg.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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