Eccentric muscle action increases site-specific osteogenic response

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Sep;31(9):1287-92. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199909000-00009.


Purpose: Strain magnitude is known to be a primary determinant of the osteogenic response to loading. However, whether bone adaptation to muscle loading is determined primarily by load magnitude is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of load magnitude from muscle action on the site-specific osteogenic response.

Methods: Twenty young women (12 exercise, 8 control) served as subjects. Bone mineral density (BMD) of the whole body and mid-femur segment and body composition were determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Knee extension and flexion strengths were determined on a KinCom dynamometer, with surface electromyography of the vastus lateralis muscle. Exercise subjects trained three times weekly for 18 wk on a KinCom. One leg trained using eccentric knee extension and flexion, and the opposite leg trained using concentric knee extension and flexion.

Results: Eccentric exercise demonstrated greater force production with lower integrated electromyographic signal (IEMG) compared with concentric exercise. Significant increases in muscle strength occurred in both exercised legs (P < 0.05), which were of similar relative change. However, only the eccentric trained leg significantly increased mid-femur segment BMD (+3.9%, P < 0.05) and mid-thigh segment lean mass (+5.2%, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These results suggest that eccentric muscle training is more osteogenic than concentric muscle training and that eccentric training is more efficient by attaining higher force production with lower IEMG.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Osteogenesis / physiology*