Effects of high loading by eccentric triceps surae training on Achilles tendon properties in humans

Jeam Marcel Geremia*, Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Maarten Frank Bobbert, Rodrigo Rico Bini, Fabio Juner Lanferdini, Marco Aurélio Vaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: To document the magnitude and time course of human Achilles tendon adaptations (i.e. changes in tendon morphological and mechanical properties) during a 12-week high-load plantar flexion training program. Methods: Ultrasound was used to determine Achilles tendon cross-sectional area (CSA), length and elongation as a function of plantar flexion torque during voluntary plantar flexion. Tendon force–elongation and stress–strain relationships were determined before the start of training (pre-training) and after 4 (post-4), 8 (post-8) and 12 (post-12) training weeks. Results: At the end of the training program, maximum isometric force had increased by 49% and tendon CSA by 17%, but tendon length, maximal tendon elongation and maximal strain were unchanged. Hence, tendon stiffness had increased by 82%, and so had Young’s modulus, by 86%. Significant changes were first detected at post-4 in stiffness (51% increase) and Young’s modulus (87% increase), and at post-8 in CSA (15% increase). Conclusions: Achilles tendon material properties already improved after 4 weeks of high-load training: stiffness increased while CSA remained unchanged. Tendon hypertrophy (increased CSA) was observed after 8 training weeks and contributed to a further increase in Achilles tendon stiffness, but tendon stiffness increases were mostly caused by adaptations in tissue properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725-1736
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Eccentric training
  • Human tendon stiffness
  • Myotendinous junction
  • Ultrasound


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