To determine if eccentric exercise is effective, tolerable and safe for adults with chronic cardiorespiratory disease.We searched electronic databases from inception until January 2015 (Medline, CINAHL, Embase, SportDiscus, PEDro, Cochrane Central and AMED) supplemented by citation tracking and reference list scanning.Included articles had to report effects of eccentric exercise, alone or as a primary component of intervention, of any intensity and duration, on adults with chronic cardiorespiratory disease. Trials needed to be reported as full text in a peer-reviewed journal and include control data (randomised, quasi-randomised and single group cross-over design trials). Any outcomes or comparison interventions were accepted. Methodological rigor was assessed using the PEDro scale.Of 22 potentially relevant articles, 10 met inclusion criteria. They reported results from seven trials with a total of 112 participants across the diseases. PEDro scores were low (median 3). Eccentric exercise increased strength and mobility to comparable levels as concentric exercise, however, it did so with lower oxygen consumption (effect size as large as d = -3.07 (-4.12, -1.80)), and four-fold power output (effect size d = -3.60 (-5.03, -1.66)). There were no adverse events reported for eccentric exercise. Pain was avoided with familiarisation sessions and individual exercise prescription.Eccentric exercise is beneficial and at least comparable with traditional exercise in improving walking and strength for people with chronic cardiorespiratory disease. It was well tolerated and we identified no safety concerns for the use of this intervention for this population.