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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

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
12048316

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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