Warm-up, stretching and massage diminish harmful effects of eccentric exercise

Int J Sports Med. 1994 Oct;15(7):414-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1021080.


The effect of a combination of a warm-up, stretching exercises and massage on subjective scores for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and objective functional and biochemical measures was studied. Fifty people, randomly divided in a treatment and a control group, performed eccentric exercise with the forearm flexors for 30 min. The treatment group additionally performed a warm-up and underwent a stretching protocol before the eccentric exercise and massage afterwards. Functional and biochemical measures were obtained before, and 1, 24, 48, 72 and 96h after exercise. The median values at the five post-exercise time points differed significantly for DOMS measured when the arm was extended (p = 0.043). Significant main effects for treatment were found on the maximal force (p = 0.026), the flexion angle of the elbow (p = 0.014) and the creatine kinase activity in blood (p = 0.006). No time-by-treatment interactions were found. DOMS on pressure, extension angle and myoglobin concentration in blood did not differ between the groups. This combination of a warm-up, stretching and massage reduces some negative effects of eccentric exercise, but the results are inconsistent, since some parameters were significantly affected by the treatment whereas others were not, despite the expected efficacy of a combination of treatments. The objective measures did not yield more unequivocal results than the subjective DOMS scores.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle Relaxation / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myoglobin / blood
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Time Factors
  • Work / physiology


  • Myoglobin
  • Creatine Kinase