Euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps were performed on six healthy untrained individuals to determine whether exercise that induces muscle damage also results in insulin resistance. Clamps were performed 48 h after bouts of predominantly 1) eccentric exercise [30 min, downhill running, -17% grade, 60 +/- 2% maximal O2 consumption (VO2max)], 2) concentric exercise (30 min, cycle ergometry, 60 +/- 2% VO2max), or 3) without prior exercise. During the clamps, euglycemia was maintained at 90 mg/dl while insulin was infused at 30 mU.m-2.min-1 for 120 min. Hepatic glucose output (HGO) was determined using [6,6-2H]glucose. Eccentric exercise caused marked muscle soreness and significantly elevated creatine kinase levels (273 +/- 73, 92 +/- 27, 87 +/- 25 IU/l for the eccentric, concentric, and control conditions, respectively) 48 h after exercise. Insulin-mediated glucose disposal rate was significantly impaired (P less than 0.05) during the clamp performed after eccentric exercise (3.47 +/- 0.51 mg.kg-1.min-1) compared with the clamps performed after concentric exercise (5.55 +/- 0.94 mg.kg-1.min-1) or control conditions (5.48 +/- 1.0 mg.kg-1.min-1). HGO was not significantly different among conditions (0.77 +/- 0.26, 0.65 +/- 0.27, and 0.66 +/- 0.64 mg.kg-1.min-1 for the eccentric, concentric, and control clamps, respectively). The insulin resistance observed after eccentric exercise could not be attributed to altered plasma cortisol, glucagon, or catecholamine concentrations. Likewise, no differences were observed in serum free fatty acids, glycerol, lactate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, or alanine. These results show that exercise that results in muscle damage, as reflected in muscle soreness and enzyme leakage, is followed by a period of insulin resistance.