Preprint / Version 3

The eccentric:concentric strength ratio of human skeletal muscle in vivo

Meta-analysis of the influences of sex, age, joint action, and velocity


  • James L Nuzzo Edith Cowan University
  • Matheus D Pinto Edith Cowan University
  • Kazunori Nosaka Edith Cowan University
  • James Steele Solent University



strength, force, ratios, concentric, eccentric


For decades, researchers have observed that eccentric (ECC) muscle strength is greater than concentric (CON) strength. However, knowledge of the ECC:CON strength ratio is incomplete and might inform resistance exercise prescriptions. Our purposes were to determine the magnitude of the ECC:CON ratio of human skeletal muscle in vivo and explore if sex, age, joint actions/exercises, and movement velocity impact it. A total of 340 studies were identified through searches. It was possible to analyze 1,516 ECC:CON ratios, aggregated from 12,546 individuals who made up 564 groups in 335 of the identified studies. Approximately 98% of measurements occurred on isokinetic machines. Bayesian meta-analyses were performed using log-ratios as response variables then exponentiated back to raw ratios. The overall main model estimate for the ECC:CON ratio was 1.41 [95% credible interval (CI): 1.38–1.44]. The ECC:CON ratio was slightly less in men (1.38 [CI: 1.34–1.41]) than women (1.47 [CI: 1.43–1.51]), but greater in older (1.62 [CI: 1.57–1.68]) than younger adults (1.39 [CI: 1.36–1.42]). The ratio was similar between grouped upper-body (1.42 [CI: 1.38–1.46]) and lower-body joint actions/exercises (1.40 [CI: 1.37–1.44]). However, heterogeneity in the ratio existed across joint actions/exercises, with point estimates ranging from 1.32 to 2.61. The ECC:CON ratio was mostly greatly impacted by movement velocity, with a 0.20% increase in the ratio for every 1°/s increase in velocity. The results show ECC strength is ~40% greater than CON strength. However, the ECC:CON ratio is greatly affected by movement velocity and to lesser extents age and sex. Differences between joint actions/exercises likely exist but more data are needed to provide more precise estimates.


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2022-09-13 — Updated on 2023-02-28