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How much stronger are muscles eccentrically than concentrically?

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 ECC exercise prescriptions. Our purposes were to determine the magnitude of the ECC:CON ratio and explore if sex, age, joint actions/exercises, and movement velocity impact it. A total of 1,393 ECC:CON ratios, aggregated from 11,477 individuals who made up 502 groups in 290 studies, were examined. 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 (1.39 [CI: 1.35–1.42]) than women (1.46 [CI: 1.42–1.51]), but greater in older (1.65 [CI: 1.59–1.72]) than younger adults (1.38 [CI: 1.36–1.41]). The ratio was similar between grouped upper-body (1.43 [CI: 1.40–1.47]) and lower-body joint actions/exercises (1.40 [CI: 1.37–1.43]). However, heterogeneity in the ratio existed across joint actions/exercises, with point estimates ranging from 1.32 to 2.75. The ECC:CON ratio was mostly greatly impacted by movement velocity, with a 0.21% 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 a lesser extent by age. 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 2022-09-13