The effects of ibuprofen on muscle hypertrophy, strength, and soreness during resistance training

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Jun;33(3):470-5. doi: 10.1139/H08-019.


High doses of ibuprofen have been shown to inhibit muscle protein synthesis after a bout of resistance exercise. We determined the effect of a moderate dose of ibuprofen (400 mg x d(-1)) consumed on a daily basis after resistance training on muscle hypertrophy and strength. Twelve males and 6 females (approximately 24 years of age) trained their right and left biceps on alternate days (6 sets of 4-10 repetitions), 5 d x week(-1), for 6 weeks. In a counter-balanced, double-blind design, they were randomized to receive 400 mg x d(-1) ibuprofen immediately after training their left or right arm, and a placebo after training the opposite arm the following day. Before- and after-training muscle thickness of both biceps was measured using ultrasound and 1 repetition maximum (1 RM) arm curl strength was determined on both arms. Subjects rated their muscle soreness daily. There were time main effects for muscle thickness and strength (p < 0.01). Ibuprofen consumption had no effect on muscle hypertrophy (muscle thickness of biceps for arm receiving ibuprofen: pre 3.63 +/- 0.14, post 3.92 +/- 0.15 cm; and placebo: pre 3.62 +/- 0.15, post 3.90 +/- 0.15 cm) and strength (1 RM of arm receiving ibuprofen: pre 18.6 +/- 2.8, post 23.4 +/- 3.5 kg; and placebo: pre 18.8 +/- 2.8, post 22.8 +/- 3.4 kg). Muscle soreness was elevated during the first week of training only, but was not different between the ibuprofen and placebo arm. We conclude that a moderate dose of ibuprofen ingested after repeated resistance training sessions does not impair muscle hypertrophy or strength and does not affect ratings of muscle soreness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Ibuprofen / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / physiology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ibuprofen