Eccentric exercise affects the upper limbs more than the lower limbs in position sense and reaction angle

J Sports Sci. 2010 Jan;28(1):33-43. doi: 10.1080/02640410903334764.


In this study, we investigated the effect of eccentric exercise on position sense and reaction angle of the elbow and knee flexors. Twelve males underwent two eccentric exercise sessions involving a randomized crossover design. In the first session participants used their elbow flexors and in the other session their knee flexors. Muscle damage indices, position sense, and joint reaction angle to release of the elbow and knee flexors were measured before, immediately after, and up to 7 days after exercise. Exercise induced greater muscle damage in the elbow flexors than knee flexors. Exercise disturbed position sense of the elbow and knee joint. For both limbs, the participants adopted a more extended position than the reference angle. The elbow and knee joint reaction angles to release increased after exercise for both the elbow and knee flexors. The disturbances in position sense and reaction angle after exercise were greater in the elbow flexors than knee flexors. The elbow flexors remained more accurate and faster than the knee flexors at all time points. These results may be explained by the higher density of muscle spindles and the lower innervation ratio of the elbow flexors compared with the knee flexors, as well as the fact that the arms are more accustomed than the legs to perform fast and accurate movements.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*
  • Young Adult