European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 11–12, pp 2145–2154 | Cite as

Differences in post-exercise T2 relaxation time changes between eccentric and concentric contractions of the elbow flexors

Original Article



This study compared maximal eccentric (ECC) and concentric (CON) contractions of the elbow flexors for changes in transverse relaxation time (T2) and indirect markers of muscle damage.


Twelve young men performed five sets of six maximal isokinetic (30°/s) ECC with one arm followed by CON with the other arm. Magnetic resonance images to assess T2 and cross-sectional area (CSA) of biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis, and measurements of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) torque, range of motion (ROM), and muscle soreness were taken before, immediately after, and 1, 3, and 5 days after each exercise.


MVC torque and ROM decreased greater after ECC than CON (p < 0.05), and muscle soreness developed only after ECC. Biceps brachii and brachialis CSA increased immediately after CON, but delayed increases in brachialis CSA were found only after ECC (p < 0.05). T2 of the muscles increased greater after CON (27–34 %) than ECC (16–18 %) immediately post-exercise (p < 0.05), but returned to baseline by 1 day after CON. The biceps brachii and brachialis T2 increased by 9–29 % at 1–5 days after ECC (p < 0.05). The post-ECC T2 changes showed no significant correlations with the changes in MVC torque, muscle soreness, and CSA, but the T2 increase immediately post-ECC was correlated with the peak T2 in 1–5-day post-ECC (r = 0.63, p < 0.05).


These results suggest that muscle activity during exercise was lower in ECC than CON, and the T2 changes after ECC do not necessarily relate to the changes in other indirect markers of muscle damage.


Muscle damage Transverse relaxation time Cross-sectional area Magnetic resonance imaging Delayed onset muscle soreness Muscle function 



Analysis of variance


Creatine kinase


Concentric contraction


Cross-sectional area


Delayed onset muscle soreness


Eccentric contraction




Magnetic resonance imaging


Maximal voluntary isometric contraction


Region of interest


Range of motion


Transverse relaxation time


Visual analog scale



This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B; 20614473).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adams GR, Duvoisin MR, Dudley GA (1992) Magnetic resonance imaging and electromyography as indexes of muscle function. J Appl Physiol 73:1578–1583PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Akima H (2012) Evaluation of functional properties of skeletal muscle using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). J Phys Fitness Sports Med 1:621–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapman DW, Newton M, Sacco P, Nosaka K (2006) Greater muscle damage induced by fast versus slow velocity eccentric exercise. Int J Sports Med 27:591–598CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen TC, Chen HL, Lin MJ, Wu CJ, Nosaka K (2009) Muscle damage responses of the elbow flexors to four maximal eccentric exercise bouts performed every 4 weeks. Eur J Appl Physiol 106:267–275CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen TC, Lin KY, Chen HL, Lin MJ, Nosaka K (2011) Comparison in eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage among four limb muscles. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:211–223CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen HL, Nosaka K, Chen TC (2012) Muscle damage protection by low-intensity eccentric contractions remains for 2 weeks but not 3 weeks. Eur J Appl Physiol 112:555–565CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Clarkson PM, Sayers SP (1999) Etiology of exercise-induced muscle damage. Can J Appl Physiol 24:234–248CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Del Valle A, Thomas CK (2005) Firing rates of motor units during strong dynamic contractions. Muscle Nerve 32:316–325CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Foley JM, Jayaraman RC, Prior BM, Pivarnik JM, Meyer RA (1999) MR measurements of muscle damage and adaptation after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 87:2311–2318PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Howell JN, Chleboun G, Conatser R (1993) Muscle stiffness, strength loss, swelling and soreness following exercise-induced injury in humans. J Physiol 464:183–196CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Jenner G, Foley JM, Cooper TG, Potchen EJ, Meyer RA (1994) Changes in magnetic resonance images of muscle depend on exercise intensity and duration, not work. J Appl Physiol 76:2119–2124PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kawakami Y, Nakazawa K, Fujimoto T, Nozaki D, Miyashita M, Fukunaga T (1994) Specific tension of elbow flexor and extensor muscles based on MRI. Eur J Appl Physiol 68:139–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Komi PV, Linnamo V, Silventoinen P, Sillanpää M (2000) Force and EMG power spectrum during eccentric and concentric actions. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:1757–1762CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kouzaki K, Nosaka K, Ochi E, Nakazato K (2016) Increases in M-wave latency of biceps brachii after elbow flexor eccentric contractions in women. Eur J Appl Physiol 116:939–946CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kulig K, Powers CM, Shellock FG, Terk M (2001) The effects of eccentric velocity on activation of elbow flexors: evaluation by magnetic resonance imaging. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:196–200CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Larsen RG, Ringgaard S, Overgaard K (2007) Localization and quantification of muscle damage by magnetic resonance imaging following step exercise in young women. Scand J Med Sci Sports 17:76–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Lavender AP, Nosaka K (2006) Changes in fluctuation of isometric force following eccentric and concentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol 96:235–240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Moore DR, Phillips SM, Babraj JA, Smith K, Rennie MJ (2005) Myofibrillar and collagen protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle in young men after maximal shortening and lengthening contractions. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 288:E1153–E1159CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Nosaka K, Clarkson PM (1996) Changes in indicators of inflammation after eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:953–961CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Nosaka K, Sakamoto K (2001) Effect of elbow joint angle on the magnitude of muscle damage to the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:22–29CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Nosaka K, Sakamoto K, Newton M, Sacco P (2001) How long does the protective effect on eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage last? Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:1490–1495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Prior BM, Jayaraman RC, Reid RW, Cooper TG, Foley JM, Dudley GA, Meyer RA (2001) Biarticular and monoarticular muscle activation and injury in human quadriceps muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol 85:185–190CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Proske U, Morgan DL (2001) Muscle damage from eccentric exercise: mechanism, mechanical signs, adaptation and clinical applications. J Physiol 537:333–345CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Qi L, Wakeling JM, Ferguson-Pell M (2011) Spectral properties of electromyographic and mechanomyographic signals during dynamic concentric and eccentric contractions of the human biceps brachii muscle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 21:1056–1063CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Rodenburg JB, de Boer RW, Schiereck P, van Echteld CJ, Bär PR (1994) Changes in phosphorus compounds and water content in skeletal muscle due to eccentric exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 68:205–213CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Tsuchiya Y, Sakuraba K, Ochi E (2014) High force eccentric exercise enhances serum tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b and osteocalcin. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact 14:50–57PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Tsuchiya Y, Yanagimoto K, Nakazato K, Hayamizu K, Ochi E (2016) Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids-rich fish oil supplementation attenuates strength loss and limited joint range of motion after eccentric contractions: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Eur J Appl Physiol 116:1179–1188CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Bioscience and Applied ChemistryHosei UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Modern and LifeTeikyo Heisei UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

Personalised recommendations