Effects of eccentric-oriented strength training on return to sport criteria in late-stage Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)-Reconstructed professional team sport players

Review written by Dr Jarred Boyd info

Key Points

  1. Eccentrically biased strength training, particularly during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction reconditioning, may engender distinct structural and neuromuscular adaptations that confer appreciable increases in lower body peak force generation (i.e. isometric squat) and dynamic muscle power capacity (i.e. vertical jump).
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Team sport athletes are disproportionately plagued by anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption – often during high momentum actions with concomitant reactive elements. Not only, however, is the incidence and prevalence of ACL reconstruction (ACL-R) among the highest of all ligamentous injury but the potential to return to prior level of competitive function remains a significant challenge.

It is well established eccentrically biased loading confers a wide span of adaptations, pertaining but not limited to connective tissue and contractile morphology (cross-sectional area), tissue architecture (fascicle length), intramuscular coordination – particularly motor unit recruitment + rate of motor unit recruitment during higher velocities, which ultimately lead to emergent capabilities obligated by sport (1).

The aim of this study was to compare eccentric strength training vs. traditional strength training, devoid of discrete eccentric parameters, during late-stage ACL-R reconditioning. Vertical and horizontal jumping as well as lower limb strength were the outcomes assessed, quantifying the extent of eccentric training applicability.

Team sport athletes are disproportionately plagued by anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption – often during high momentum actions with concomitant reactive elements.
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Eccentric training application may be more of a potent stimulus for generating true stretch shorten cycle capabilities.

METHODS

  • This study followed 22 professional team sport athletes with a unilateral reconstructed ACL. The 22 subjects were randomly divided into two groups – control (CON) or experimental (ECC).
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