Send to

Choose Destination
Contraception. 1997 Aug;56(2):59-65.

The effects of oral contraceptives on delayed onset muscle soreness following exercise.

Author information

Department of Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 01003, USA.


Several authors have suggested that estrogen may serve to protect skeletal muscle from exercise-induced damage. The present study examined the effects of regularly ingesting estrogen, in the form of oral contraceptives, on postexercise muscle damage following a bench-stepping regimen. Women currently ingesting oral contraceptives (OC) were compared with eumennorheic controls (CG). All subjects performed a 50-min stepping exercise during the midluteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Muscle damage was evaluated on 2, 3, and 5 days postexercise using several established indirect indicators: perceived soreness, strength and range of motion changes, girth measurements, and creatine kinase (CK) activity. Subjects on OC reported significantly lower quadriceps soreness (p < 0.05) relative to the CG (peak soreness = 4.0 and 7.8, respectively, on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is normal and 10 is very, very sore). These results indicate that oral contraceptive use attenuates soreness following an exhaustive stepping activity but cannot support a relationship between estrogen ingestion and other indices of exercise-induced muscle damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center