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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Jun;31(3):313-9.

Is isometric strength loss immediately after eccentric exercise related to changes in indirect markers of muscle damage?

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School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia.


This study tested the hypothesis that the magnitude of maximal isometric strength (MVC) loss immediately following eccentric exercise (MVC-post) would relate to changes in other indirect markers of muscle damage following exercise. Eighty-nine men were recruited from the same student population and performed 24 maximal eccentric actions of the elbow flexors. Commonly used markers of muscle damage such as relaxed and flexed elbow joint angles, range of motion (ROM), upper-arm circumference, muscle soreness, and plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity were measured before, immediately after, and 1-4 d after exercise. Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficients (r) between change in MVC-post and other markers of muscle damage, as well as MVC during recovery days, were calculated. Changes in MVC-post ranged from -72.8% to -17.6%, and correlated significantly (p < 0.01) with MVC at 1 (r = 0.59), 2 (0.63), 3 (0.61), and 4 (0.62) d after exercise. Reduction in MVC-post also correlated significantly (p < 0.05) with changes in relaxed (r = 0.50) and flexed elbow joint angles (-0.40), ROM (0.55), arm circumference (-0.45), peak palpation (-0.34) and extension muscle soreness (-0.48), and peak CK activity (-0.59). However, the r values were not necessarily high, and MVC-post poorly reflected the distribution of some measures, such as peak CK activity (124 - 50 440 IU x L(-1). These results suggest that MVC-post is not a strong correlate of the changes in markers of muscle damage following eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors.

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