Bio-artificial tissues are being developed as replacements for damaged biologic tissues. Their mechanical properties are critical for load bearing applications. Current testing protocols for bio-artificial tissues vary widely and often do not consider viscoelasticity. Uniaxial stretch tests were performed on fibroblast populated collagen matrices (FPCMs) to determine the influence of specific test protocols on the mechanical behavior. The peak force, hysteresis and shape of the force-stretch curve are affected by the stretch rate, rest period, stretch amplitude and the number and magnitude of preconditioning cycles.