Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Oct;90(10):816-24. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182240b30.

Determinants of the repeated-bout effect after lengthening contractions.

Author information

Department of Physiology, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Apr;91(4):308.



Stresses to skeletal muscle often result in injury. A subsequent bout of the same activity performed days or even weeks after an initial bout results in significantly less damage. The underlying causes of this phenomenon, termed the "repeated-bout effect" (RBE), are unclear. This study compared the protective effect of two different injury protocols on the ankle dorsiflexors in the rat. We hypothesized that the RBE would occur soon after the initial injury and persist for several weeks and that the RBE would occur even if the second injury was performed under different biomechanical conditions than the first.


In this controlled laboratory study, the dorsiflexor muscles in the left hind limbs of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 75) were subjected to ten repetitions of large-strain lengthening contractions or 150 repetitions of small-strain lengthening contractions.


Both protocols induced a significant (P < 0.001) and similar loss of isometric torque (approximately 50%) after the first bout of contractions. The RBE occurred as early as 2 days after the injury and remained high for 14 days (P < 0.001) but diminished by 28 days and was lost by 42 days. The small-strain contractions offered a protective effect against a subsequent large-strain contraction, but not vice versa. Although the RBE did not occur sooner than day 2, the early recovery after a second large-strain injury performed 8 hrs after the first was 2-fold greater than after a single injury.


The RBE is both rapid in onset and prolonged, and some, but not all, injuries can protect against different types of subsequent injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center