Muscle damage and soreness after endurance exercise of the elbow flexors

Kazunori Nosaka, Mike Newton, Paul Sacco
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2002, 34 (6): 920-7

PURPOSE: This study investigated changes in indirect markers of muscle damage after endurance exercise of the elbow flexors and compared the changes with those after maximal eccentric actions (Max-ECC) of the elbow flexors.

METHODS: Eighteen male students rhythmically lifted (1 s) and lowered (1 s) a light dumbbell (1.1-1.8 kg: 9% of MIF) in 60-180 degrees of elbow joint angle for 2 h (2-h Ex). Maximal isometric force (MIF), relaxed (RANG) and flexed elbow joint angles (FANG), upper-arm circumference (CIR), muscle soreness (SOR), B-mode ultrasound (US), and plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity were assessed before and immediately after, and up to 96 h after exercise.

RESULTS: All measures were altered significantly (P < 0.05) after 2-h Ex in a similar time course to Max-ECC; however, changes in RANG, FANG, CIR, US, and CK (peak: 356 +/- 121 IU.L-1) were significantly (P < 0.05) smaller compared with those after Max-ECC. SOR developed immediately after 2-h Ex and peaked 24-48 h after exercise. MIF dropped to 44.1% of the preexercise level, which was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than that after Max-ECC (58.1%), immediately postexercise. MIF recovered to 79.8% at 24 h, and 97.8% at 96 h postexercise, which was a significantly (P < 0.05) faster recovery compared with that of Max-ECC (73.1% at 96 h).

CONCLUSION: These results showed low-intensity continuous muscle contractions (3600 times) resulted in muscle damage; however, the magnitude of the muscle damage was less severe, and the recovery was faster compared with 12 maximal eccentric muscle actions.


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