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Tendon adaptations to eccentric exercise and the implications for older adults

Quinlan, JI and Narici, MV and Reeves, ND and Franchi, MV (2019) Tendon adaptations to eccentric exercise and the implications for older adults. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 4 (3).

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Abstract

© 2019 by the authors. The purpose of this short review is to discuss the effects of eccentric exercise in modifying the properties of tendon tissue in healthy individuals. The tendon provides a mechanical link between muscle and bone, allowing force transmission to the skeleton, and thus, its properties have significant functional implications. Chronic resistance training has long been shown to increase the stiffness and Young’s modulus of the tendon and even tendon cross-sectional area. However, as the tendon responds to the amount and/or frequency of strain, it has been previously suggested that eccentric training may result in greater adaptations due to the potential for greater training loads. Thus, this review discusses the effects of eccentric training upon healthy tendon tissue and compares these to other training modalities. Furthermore, it has been reported that the tendon may undergo adverse age-related changes. Thus, this review also discusses the potential application of eccentric resistance training as a preferential modality for counteracting these age-related changes. We conclude that while there may be no difference between contraction types for overall tendon adaptation, the lower demands of eccentric contractions may make it more appealing for the elderly population.

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