Force recovery after eccentric exercise in males and females

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Jan-Feb;84(1-2):122-6. doi: 10.1007/s004210000346.


In this study we investigated force loss and recovery after eccentric exercise, and further characterized profound losses in muscle function (n = 192 subjects--98 males, 94 females; population A). Maximal voluntary contractile force (MVC) was assessed before, immediately after, and at 36 and 132 h after eccentric exercise. Two groups were then established (A1 and A2). Group A1 demonstrated a > 70% reduction in MVC immediately after exercise, but were recovering at 132 h after exercise. These subjects performed a follow-up MVC 26 days later (n = 32). Group A2 demonstrated a > 70% reduction in MVC immediately post-exercise, but still exhibited a > 65% reduction in force at 132 h post-exercise; these subjects also performed a follow-up MVC every 7 days until full recovery was established (n = 9). In population A, there was a 57% reduction in MVC immediately post-exercise and a 67% recovery by 132 h post-exercise (P < 0.01), with no significant gender differences (P > 0.05). In group A1, although more females (two-thirds) showed large force losses after exercise, these females demonstrated greater %MVC recovery at 132 h post-exercise (59% vs 44%) and at 26 days post-exercise (93% vs 81%) compared to the males. In group A2, MVC recovery occurred between 33 and 47 days post-exercise. In conclusion, 21% of all subjects showed a delayed recovery in MVC after high-force eccentric exercise. Although there were no significant gender differences in force loss, a disproportionately larger number of females demonstrated force reductions of > 70%. However, their recovery of force was more rapid than that observed for the males who also demonstrated a > 70% force loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics*