Comparison in eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage among four limb muscles

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Feb;111(2):211-23. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1648-7. Epub 2010 Sep 18.


This study tested the hypothesis that changes in indirect markers of muscle damage following maximal eccentric exercise would be smaller for the knee extensors (KE) and flexors (KF) compared with the elbow flexors (EF) and extensors (EE). A total of 17 sedentary men performed five sets of six maximal isokinetic (90° s(-1)) eccentric contractions of EF (range of motion, ROM: 90°-0°, 0 = full extension), EE (55°-145°), KF (90°-0°), and KE (30°-120°) using a different limb with a 4-5-week interval in a counterbalanced order. Changes in maximal isometric and concentric isokinetic strength, optimum angle, limb circumference, ROM, plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration, muscle soreness, and echo-intensity of B-mode ultrasound images before and for 5 days following exercise were compared amongst the four exercises using two-way repeated-measures ANOVA. All variables changed significantly following EF, EE, and KF exercises, but KE exercise did not change the optimum angle, limb circumference, and echo-intensity. Compared with KF and KE, EF and EE showed significantly greater changes in all variables, without significant differences between EF and EE. Changes in all variables were significantly greater for KF than KE. For the same subjects, the magnitude of change in the dependent variables following exercise varied among the exercises. These results suggest that the two arm muscles are equally more susceptible to muscle damage than leg muscles, but KF is more susceptible to muscle damage than KE. The difference in the susceptibility to muscle damage seems to be associated with the use of muscles in daily activities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Extremities* / anatomy & histology
  • Extremities* / diagnostic imaging
  • Extremities* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / blood
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Myoglobin / blood
  • Organ Size
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Torque
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult


  • Myoglobin
  • Creatine Kinase