Eccentric Exercise & Antioxidant Supplementation

Eccentric Exercise

Alyssa Bialowas

Eccentric exercise is defined as the lengthening of the muscle while contracting, or opposing action that shortens the muscle. Slowing down the elongation of the muscle process is said to lead to an ability to build stronger muscles. Furthermore, it advances the process of muscle repair and increases metabolic rate. It is also shown to benefit lipid profile and insulin sensitivity.

In fact, research shows that an acute bout of eccentric exercise leads to insulin resistance that can last up to four days. Consequently, to further the benefits of eccentric exercise, athletes have supplemented with antioxidants during HIIT. Supplementing with antioxidants is controversial as it is said to prevent physiological training-induced adaptations.

A team of researchers out of a University in Greece set out to determine the minimum duration of eccentric exercise required to produce metabolic change. They also wanted to know if supplementing antioxidants during training interferes with physiological adaptation.

Related Article: BHB Supplements and Energy

The Study

The subjects in this study were a group of 16 healthy young men, who exercised 2-3 times a week on average. They were randomized into two groups: a control group and a vitamins group (both n=8). Participants in the vitamin group received one tablet of vitamin C and one of vitamin E a day for 9 weeks. The control group received a placebo pill in the same frequency and duration.

Before the study, participants had their muscle function measurements and blood drawn. After 5 weeks, the participants began their eccentric exercise training sessions. They trained 2 sessions per week for the remainder of the study. Blood samples and physiologic measurements were performed at week 0 and each week after exercise was introduced. Vitamin concentration levels, insulin and glucose measurements, lipids and lipoproteins were also measured.

Eccentric Exercise Antioxidant Supplementation

The Results

In terms of vitamin concentration, plasma ascorbic acid increased in the vitamin group by 22.7% after 4 weeks of taking the vitamin supplements. In terms of muscle function, peak torque was also increased in both the vitamin and control group after 5 weeks of eccentric muscle training. There was no significant difference between the two groups.

Neither the eccentric exercise or vitamin supplementation effected plasma glucose and insulin concentration. However, for both the control and the vitamin group, there was a significant time effect on lipid and lipoprotein levels.

Specifically, plasma triglycerides and total cholesterol levels were significantly lower than baseline, while low-density lipoprotein levels saw a 10% reduction. Hence, results show that there was no effect of the antioxidant supplementation on plasma glucose and insulin concentration, in response to the supplementation or the eccentric training.   

Related Article: Do Masters Athletes Need Specific Nutrition?


In this study, four weeks of eccentric exercise training proved beneficial for lipid profiles, even while supplementing with antioxidants thought to suppress the effects. There were improvements on a weekly basis, improving muscle function, plasma glucose, and insulin concentration levels. In addition, 3 weeks of eccentric exercise training were needed before significant reductions in plasma triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein was seen.

Therefore, the results of this study prove a model for the design of future physical activity and training programs that aim to know the minimum duration of eccentric exercise needed to improve metabolic fitness and effect lipid profile.


Deli, C., Fatouros, I., Jamurtas, A., Koutedakis, Y., Theodorou, A., Tsiokanos, A., & Yfanti, C. (2017). “Chronic Eccentric Exercise and Antioxidant Supplementation: Effects on Lipid Profile and Insulin Sensitivity.” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 16, 375-382. You Might Like:

Ice hole polar plunge

The Science of Temperature Therapy

Temperature therapy (also known as “thermal therapy” or “thermotherapy”) involves the use of heat or cold to improve health and function. Interestingly, thermotherapy has been around for centuries, with ancient cultures regularly using hot springs,...

The Predictors of Longevity You Need to Care About

Living a long and healthy life is a universal aspiration, and with the publication of Peter Aittia’s new book “Outlive”, it has never been a bigger focus. With this has come the realisation that, while...
Women training together

How Overtraining and Undertraining Impacts Hormonal Health

While maintaining a healthy hormonal balance is essential for overall health and wellbeing, it is an often-overlooked component of women’s health. Hormones play a vital role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, energy, mood,...
Upper body strength

Upper Body Strength in Post-Menopausal Women

Menopause is a unique time in the human life, and with it comes a myriad of changes that can have wide reaching health implications. However, over the last 20 years we have seen a strong...
Exercise partners congratulating each other during workout

Exercise After Menopause: What You Need To Know

Menopause is one of the most significant events in a woman’s life, and with it comes several changes that can affect function. Moreover, the post-menopausal period comes with many health considerations that can have a...
Jump Rope

Can Athletes Benefit from More Mitochondria?

Woman eating healthy food

The World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant: Glutathione

Women in the vitamin aisle

3 Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System Now

Women playing soccer

Exercise Research is Underrepresented in Female Athletes

ab roller

How Core Strength Effects Athletic Performance

Tips For Vegan Nutritional Balance

6 Vegan Athlete Meal Plan Ideas to Boost Performance

Weight Training Techniques: Benefits of Unilateral Training

Weight Training Techniques: The Benefits of Unilateral Training

Improve Aerobic Capacity: Tips and Tricks

How to Improve Your Aerobic Capacity – Tips & Tricks

Exercising in the Heat

Exercising in the Heat

Glute Exercise

The Best Glute Exercises: How to fire your glutes!

Leave a Reply