Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
This study investigated whether maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVC-ISO) would attenuate the magnitude of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Young untrained men were placed into one of the two experimental groups or one control group (n = 13 per group). Subjects in the experimental groups performed either two or 10 MVC-ISO of the elbow flexors at a long muscle length (20° flexion) 2 days prior to 30 maximal isokinetic eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors. Subjects in the control group performed the eccentric contractions without MVC-ISO. No significant changes in maximal voluntary concentric contraction peak torque, peak torque angle, range of motion, upper arm circumference, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and myoglobin concentration, muscle soreness, and ultrasound echo intensity were evident after MVC-ISO. Changes in the variables following eccentric contractions were smaller (P < 0.05) for the 2 MVC-ISO group (e.g., peak torque loss at 5 days after exercise, 23% ± 3%; peak CK activity, 1964 ± 452 IU·L-1; peak muscle soreness, 46 ± 4 mm) or the 10 MVC-ISO group (13% ± 3%, 877 ± 198 IU·L-1, 30 ± 4 mm) compared with the control (34% ± 4%, 6192 ± 1747 IU·L-1, 66 ± 5 mm). The 10 MVC-ISO group showed smaller (P < 0.05) changes in all variables following eccentric contractions compared with the 2 MVC-ISO group. Therefore, two MVC-ISO conferred potent protective effects against muscle damage, whereas greater protective effect was induced by 10 MVC-ISO, which can be used as a strategy to minimize muscle damage.