European Journal of Applied Physiology
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose: We compared high- and low-intensity eccentric cycling (ECC) with the same mechanical work for changes in muscle function and muscle soreness, and examined the changes after subsequent high-intensity ECC.
Methods: Twenty men performed either high-intensity ECC (1 min × 5 at 20% of peak power output: PPO) for two bouts separated by 2 weeks (H–H, n = 11), or low-intensity (4 min × 5 at 5% PPO) for the first and high-intensity ECC for the second bout (L–H, n = 9). Changes in indirect muscle damage markers were compared between groups and bouts.
Results: At 24 h after the first bout, both groups showed similar decreases in maximal isometric (70° knee angle, − 10.6 ± 11.8%) and isokinetic (− 11.0 ± 8.2%) contraction torque of the knee extensors (KE), squat (− 7.7 ± 10.4%) and counter-movement jump (− 5.9 ± 8.4%) heights (p < 0.05). Changes in KE torque and jump height were smaller after the second than the first bout for both the groups (p < 0.05). Increases in plasma creatine kinase activity were small, and no significant changes in vastus lateralis or intermedius thickness nor ultrasound echo-intensity were observed. KE soreness with palpation was greater (p < 0.01) in H–H (peak: 4.2 ± 1.0) than L–H (1.4 ± 0.6) after the first bout, but greater in L–H (3.6 ± 0.9) than H–H (1.5 ± 0.5) after the second bout. This was also found for muscle soreness with squat, KE stretch and gluteal palpation.
Conclusion: The high- and low-intensity ECC with matched mechanical work induced similar decreases in muscle function, but DOMS was greater after high-intensity ECC, which may be due to greater extracellular matrix damage and inflammation.
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