Responses of elbow flexors to two strenuous eccentric exercise bouts separated by three days

J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Feb;20(1):108-16. doi: 10.1519/R-16634.1.


This study investigated whether the second eccentric exercise performed 3 days after the initial bout would exacerbate muscle damage and retard the recovery. Fifty-one athletes performed 30 eccentric actions of the elbow flexors using a dumbbell weighted 100% of the maximal isometric force (MIF) at the elbow joint angle of 90 degrees (ECC1). Three days after ECC1, all subjects except those in the control group (n = 12) performed the second bout (ECC2) with the same (100%) intensity (n = 12), 90% (n = 13), or 80% (n = 14) of the ECC1. Some subjects, especially in the 100% group, required spotting for ECC2 but made maximal effort to complete the exercise. MIF, range of motion, upper-arm circumference, muscle soreness, muscle proteins in the blood, and ultrasound images were used to assess muscle damage. Changes in these measures for 9 days following ECC1 were compared among groups by 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures. All criterion measures changed significantly after ECC1; however, no significant differences between the groups were evident for any of the changes in the measures. These results suggest that it is possible for athletes to complete the second bout if the intensity is reduced 10-20% from the initial bout. No significant differences between the control group and other groups indicate that the second eccentric exercise performed 3 days after the initial bout does not exacerbate muscle damage and retard the recovery regardless of the intensity of the second bout. It is concluded that the elbow flexors can perform high-intensity eccentric exercise in the early stage of recovery from the initial bout and are not damaged further by performing a subsequent bout 3 days after the first.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm / physiology
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Elbow Joint / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myoglobin / blood
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Rest / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Myoglobin
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Creatine Kinase