How to Train Human Tendons

Tendinopathy 42:10
How to Train Human Tendons


The present lecture deals with the adaptation of human tendons to mechanical loading.

It gives an overview about the relevance of tendon mechanical properties considering movement performance and injury prevention and provides a theoretical background for targeted tendon training.

Finally, some general principles and exemplary practical exercises are discussed to help with the implementation of tendon training in applied settings.

The complementary "A closer look" lectures provide more detail about the origins and consequences of muscle-tendon imbalances and give a perspective on individualized tendon loading programs.

Learning points:

  • Well-balanced properties of muscle and tendon enable favorable operating conditions for the muscle to achieve a high power output or efficiently produce mechanical work
  • The main stimulus for tendons to adapt is the strain that occurs during muscle contraction
  • There may be a “sweet spot” region of tendon strain, which is probably achieved at moderate to high loads, and the application of high strain should last about 3 seconds per loading cycle
  • As the muscle contraction type (i.e. isometric, concentric, eccentric) does not play a major role for tendon adaptation, a variety of exercises can be used to provide this type of loading
  • With a total of only 15 sets of four repetitions per week, a comparatively low loading volume is already effective for tendons in different combinations of sets-per-session and sessions-per-week.

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