The effect of passive stretching on delayed onset muscle soreness, and other detrimental effects following eccentric exercise

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1998 Aug;8(4):216-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.1998.tb00195.x.


The aim of this study was to measure if passive stretching would influence delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), dynamic muscle strength, plasma creatine kinase concentration (CK) and the ratio of phosphocreatine to inorganic phosphate (PCr/P(i)) following eccentric exercise. Seven healthy untrained women, 28-46 years old, performed eccentric exercise with the right m. quadriceps in an isokinetic dynamometer (Biodex, angle velocity: 60 degrees.s-1) until exhaustion, in two different experiments, with an interval of 13-23 months. In both experiments the PCr/P(i) ratio, dynamic muscle strength, CK and muscle pain were measured before the eccentric exercise (day 0) and the following 7 d. In the second experiment daily passive stretching (3 times of 30 s duration, with a pause of 30 s in between) of m. quadriceps was included in the protocol. The stretching was performed before and immediately after the eccentric exercise at day 0, and before measurements of the dependent variables daily for the following 7 d. The eccentric exercise alone led to significant decreases in PCr/P(i) ratio (P < 0.001) and muscle strength (P < 0.001), and an increase in CK concentration (P < 0.01). All subjects reported pain in the right m. quadriceps with a peak 48 h after exercise. There was no difference in the reported variables between experiments one and two. It is concluded that passive stretching did not have any significant influence on increased plasma-CK, muscle pain, muscle strength and the PCr/P(i) ratio, indicating that passive stretching after eccentric exercise cannot prevent secondary pathological alterations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Phosphates / blood
  • Phosphocreatine / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Phosphates
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Creatine Kinase