Attenuation of protective effect against eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage

Can J Appl Physiol. 2005 Oct;30(5):529-42. doi: 10.1139/h05-139.


A single bout of eccentric exercise confers a long-lasting protective effect against subsequent bouts of the same exercise. This study investigated how the protective effect was lessened when the interval between the initial and secondary exercise bouts was increased from 4 to 12 weeks. Thirty young men performed two bouts of 12 maximal eccentric actions of the elbow flexors of the nondominant arm separated by either 4 (n = 9), 8 (n = 10), or 12 (n = 11) weeks. Maximal isometric strength, flexed and relaxed elbow joint angles, range of motion, upper arm circumference, muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase (CK), and myoglobin (Mb) were measured before, immediately after, and for 4 days after exercise. Changes in criterion measures were compared between bouts for each group and among groups by two-way repeated-measures ANOVA. There were no significant differences among groups in the changes in all measures following the first bout. Significantly (p < 0.05) smaller responses in all measures were observed after the second bout as compared with first bout for the 4 and 8 weeks, but only in strength, muscle soreness, CK, and Mb for the 12 weeks. It was concluded that some aspects of the protective effect were attenuated after 8 weeks, and the factors responsible for the effect vary among the measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Elbow / physiology
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myoglobin / blood
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Upper Extremity / anatomy & histology


  • Myoglobin
  • Creatine Kinase