The effects of supramaximal versus submaximal intensity eccentric training when performed until volitional fatigue.Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Oct; 117(10):2099-2108.EJ
Our purpose was to compare supramaximal versus submaximal intensity eccentric training performed until volitional fatigue.
Thirty-two young adults (19 males) were randomized into one of three groups: (1) ECC110 performed eccentric (ECC) only contractions at 110% of concentric (CON) 1-repetition maximum (1RM); (2) ECC80 performed ECC only contractions at 80% of CON 1RM; (3) a control group. Training progressed from 3 to 6 sets of unilateral ECC training of the elbow flexors over 8 weeks, with each set performed until volitional fatigue. Elbow flexors muscle thickness (via ultrasound) and 1RM were assessed pre- and post-training. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and muscle soreness was self-reported.
Both ECC110 (+0.25 cm) and ECC80 (+0.21 cm) showed a greater post-training increase in muscle thickness compared to control (-0.01 cm) (p < 0.05), with no differences between ECC110 and ECC80. ECC80 (+1.23 kg) showed a greater post-training increase in strength compared to control (p < 0.05), while ECC110 (+0.76 kg) had no significant difference post-training vs. control (-0.01 kg). ECC80 had significantly lower average RPE scores than ECC110 (p < 0.05).
Both supramaximal intensity eccentric training and submaximal intensity eccentric training are effective for increasing muscle size, but submaximal eccentric training is perceived to require less exertion than supramaximal training. These findings suggest that submaximal eccentric training may be an ideal strategy to increase muscle size and strength in individuals whose needs warrant training at a lower level of exertion.