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J Sci Med Sport. 2008 Apr;11(2):124-31. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Changes in markers of muscle damage of middle-aged and young men following eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors.

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School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


It is well documented that unaccustomed eccentric exercise induces muscle damage, but the responses of middle-aged individuals to a bout of eccentric exercise have not been reported. The purpose of this study was to compare changes in indirect markers of muscle damage following eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors between 12 young (age: 19.4+/-0.4 years, height: 173.5+/-2.0cm, body mass: 65.8+/-3.5kg) and 12 middle-aged men (48.0+/-2.1 years, 169.5+/-1.7cm, 67.3+/-1.6kg). It was hypothesized that middle-aged men would be more susceptible to muscle damage than young men. All subjects performed six sets of five eccentric actions of the elbow flexors using a dumbbell of 40% of maximal isometric strength (MVC). Changes in MVC, elbow joint angles and range of motion, upper arm circumference, plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration, and muscle soreness before, immediately after, and 1, 2, 3, and 4 days after exercise were compared between the young and middle-aged groups by a two-way repeated measures ANOVA. All criterion measures changed significantly (P<0.05) after exercise, but no significant differences in the changes in the measures except for muscle soreness were evident between groups. Development of muscle soreness after exercise was significantly (P<0.05) lower (approximately a half of the value) for the middle-aged group compared with the young group. These results did not support the hypothesis that middle-aged men would be more susceptible to muscle damage than young men.

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