Muscle Strength Does Not Adapt From a Second to Third Bout of Eccentric Contractions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Repeated Bout Effect.


Lindsay A(1), Abbott G(1), Ingalls CP(2), Baumann CW(3).
Author information:
(1)Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
(IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.
(2)Department of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia; and.
(3)Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute
(OMNI) and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.


Lindsay, A, Abbott, G, Ingalls, CP, and Baumann, CW. Muscle strength does not adapt from a second to third bout of eccentric contractions: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the repeated bout effect. J Strength Cond Res 35(2): 576-584, 2021-The greatest muscle strength adaptations to repeated bouts of eccentric contractions (ECC) occur after the initial injury, with little to no change in subsequent bouts. However, because of the disparity in injury models, it is unknown whether three or more bouts provide further adaptation. Therefore, we performed a systematic review of the literature to evaluate whether a third bout of skeletal muscle ECC impacts immediate strength loss and rate of strength recovery compared with a second bout. A search of the literature in Web of Science, SCOPUS, Medline, and the American College of Sports Medicine database was conducted between May and September 2019 using the keywords eccentric contraction or lengthening contraction and muscle and repeated or multiple, and bout. Eleven studies with 12 experimental groups, using 72 human subjects, 48 mice, and 11 rabbits, met the inclusion criteria. A meta-analysis using a random effects model and effect sizes (ESs; Hedges' g) calculated from the standardized mean differences was completed. Calculated ESs for immediate strength loss provided no evidence that a third bout of ECC results in greater loss of strength compared with a second bout (ES = -0.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.41 to 0.17). Furthermore, the rate of strength recovery was not different between a second and third bout (ES = -0.15, 95% CI = -1.01 to 0.70). These results indicate a third bout of skeletal muscle ECC does not improve indices of strength loss or rate of strength recovery compared with a second bout. Therefore, coaches and athletes should expect some level of persistent weakness after each of their initial training sessions involving ECC, and the faster recovery of strength deficits in the second bout documented by previous research is not different from a third bout.