Difference in the magnitude of muscle damage between maximal and submaximal eccentric loading

J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):202-8.


This study compared maximal (MAX-ECC) and submaximal (50%-ECC) eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Untrained male students (n = 8) performed 3 sets of 10 repetitions of MAX-ECC with one arm and 50%-ECC with the other arm, separated by 4 weeks. In MAX-ECC, the elbow joint was forcibly extended from a flexed (90 degrees ) to a full-extended position (180 degrees ) in 3 seconds while producing maximal force. For 50%-ECC, a dumbbell set at 50% of the maximal isometric strength at 90 degrees of the elbow joint was lowered from the flexed to the extended position in 3 seconds. Changes in indicators of muscle damage were compared between the bouts by a 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance. Changes in isometric strength, range of motion, upper arm circumference, and plasma creatine kinase activity were significantly smaller and the recovery was significantly faster for 50%-ECC compared with MAX-ECC, although the differences in the changes immediately after exercise were small. It appeared that the magnitude of initial muscle damage was similar between the bouts; however, secondary damage was less after 50%-ECC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Elbow / physiopathology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology


  • Creatine Kinase