Whey protein supplementation does not accelerate recovery from a single bout of eccentric exercise

J Sports Sci. 2021 Feb;39(3):322-331. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2020.1820184. Epub 2020 Oct 5.


The current double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with two parallel groups aimed to assess the impact of whey protein supplementation on recovery of muscle function and muscle soreness following eccentric exercise. During a 9-day period, forty recreationally active males received twice daily supplementation with either whey protein (PRO; 60 g/day) or an iso-energetic amount of carbohydrate (CON). Muscle function and soreness were assessed before, and 0, 3, 24, 48, and 72 h after performing 100 drop jumps. Recovery of isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) did not significantly differ between groups (timextreatment, P = 0.56). In contrast, the recovery of isokinetic MVC at 90°·s-1 was faster in CON as opposed to PRO (timextreatment interaction, P = 0.044). Recovery of isokinetic MVC at 180°·s-1 was also faster in CON as opposed to PRO (timextreatment interaction, P = 0.011). Recovery of countermovement jump performance did not differ between groups (timextreatment interaction, P = 0.52). Muscle soreness, CK and CRP showed a transient increase over time (P < 0.001), with no differences between groups. In conclusion, whey protein supplementation does not accelerate recovery of muscle function or attenuate muscle soreness and inflammation during 3 days of recovery from a single bout of eccentric exercise.

Keywords: Eccentric exercise; carbohydrates; muscle function; muscle soreness; protein supplementation; recovery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myalgia / prevention & control*
  • Whey Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Whey Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Hydrocortisone