We aimed to determine whether there were differences in the extent and time course of skeletal muscle myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle collagen protein synthesis (CPS) in human skeletal muscle in an 8.5-h period after bouts of maximal muscle shortening (SC; average peak torque = 225 +/- 7 N.m, means +/- SE) or lengthening contractions (LC; average peak torque = 299 +/- 18 N.m) with equivalent work performed in each mode. Eight healthy young men (21.9 +/- 0.6 yr, body mass index 24.9 +/- 1.3 kg/m2) performed 6 sets of 10 maximal unilateral LC of the knee extensors on an isokinetic dynamometer. With the contralateral leg, they then performed 6 sets of maximal unilateral SC with work matched to the total work performed during LC (10.9 +/- 0.7 vs. 10.9 +/- 0.8 kJ, P = 0.83). After exercise, the participants consumed small intermittent meals to provide 0.1 g.kg(-1).h(-1) of protein and carbohydrate. Prior exercise elevated MPS above rest in both conditions, but there was a more rapid rise after LC (P < 0.01). The increases (P < 0.001) in CPS above rest were identical for both SC and LC and likely represent a remodeling of the myofibrillar basement membrane. Therefore, a more rapid rise in MPS after maximal LC could translate into greater protein accretion and muscle hypertrophy during chronic resistance training utilizing maximal LC.