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Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2013 Sep;33(5):373-80. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12040. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

The susceptibility of the knee extensors to eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage is not affected by leg dominance but by exercise order.

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GIGA-Neuroscience, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.


The aims of this study were first to compare the response of dominant and non-dominant legs to eccentric exercise and second, to examine whether there is an effect of exercise order on the magnitude of symptoms associated with intense eccentric protocols. Eighteen young men performed three sets of 30 maximal eccentric isokinetic (60° s(-1)) contractions of the knee extensors (range of motion, ROM: 0°-100°, 0 = full extension) using either dominant or non-dominant leg. They repeated a similar eccentric bout using the contralateral leg 6 weeks later. The sequence of leg's use was allocated to create equally balanced groups. Four indirect markers of muscle damage including subjective pain intensity, maximal isometric strength, muscle stiffness and plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity were measured before and 24 h after exercise. All markers changed significantly following the eccentric bout performed either by dominant or non-dominant legs, but no significant difference was observed between legs. Interestingly, the comparison between the first and second eccentric bouts revealed that muscle soreness (-42%, P<0.001), CK activity (-62%, P<0.05) and strength loss (-54%, P<0.01) were significantly lower after the second bout. This study suggests that leg dominance does not influence the magnitude of exercise-induced muscle damage and supports for the first time the existence of a contralateral protection against exercise-induced muscle damage in the lower limbs.


contralateral repeated-bout effect; delayed-onset muscle soreness; dominance; exercise-induced muscle damage; lengthening contraction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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