The acute and repeated bout effects of multi-joint eccentric exercise on physical function and balance in older adults

Brett A. Baxter*, Anthony Baross, Declan Ryan, Ben Wright, Tony Kay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Eccentric muscle actions generate high levels of force at a low metabolic cost, making them a suitable training modality to combat age-related neuromuscular decline. The temporary muscle soreness associated with high intensity eccentric contractions may explain their limited use in clinical exercise prescription, however any discomfort is often alleviated after the initial bout (repeated bout effect). Therefore, the aims of the present study were to examine the acute and repeated bout effects of eccentric contractions on neuromuscular factors associated with the risk of falling in older adults.

Balance, functional ability [timed up-and-go and sit-to-stand], and lower-limb maximal and explosive strength were measured in 13 participants (67.6 ± 4.9 year) pre- and post-eccentric exercise (0, 24, 48, and 72 hr) in Bout 1 and 14 days later in Bout 2. The eccentric exercise intervention was performed on an isokinetic unilateral stepper ergometer at 50% of maximal eccentric strength at 18 step‧min−1 per limb for 7 min (126 steps per limb). Two-way repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted to identify any significant effects (P ≤ 0.05).

Eccentric strength significantly decreased (− 13%) in Bout 1 at 24 hr post-exercise; no significant reduction was observed at any other time-point after Bout 1. No significant reductions occurred in static balance or functional ability at any time-point in either bout.

Submaximal multi-joint eccentric exercise results in minimal disruption to neuromuscular function associated with falls in older adults after the initial bout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2131–2143
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number10
Early online date22 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023
Event 27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science - FIBES SEVILLA Conference Centre, Seville, Spain
Duration: 31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2023. Crown.


  • eccentric contractions
  • strength
  • delayed onset muscle soreness
  • ageing


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