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Human muscle function following prolonged eccentric exercise

Summary

4 subjects performed repeated eccentric contractions with leg extensors during prolonged downhill walking (−25% gradient) at 6.44 km · h−1 until collapse due to muscle weakness (range of exercise duration 29 to 40 min). During the exercise oxygen uptake rose progressively from ∼45% of the previously determined \(\dot V_{O_{2max} } \) at 10 min to ∼65% at the end of the exercise. Following the exercise there was an immediate, significant, and sustained reduction in maximal voluntary isometric contraction, and short term (anaerobic) power output measured concentrically on an isokinetic ergometer. These reductions in muscle function persisted for 96 hours post exercise, and were reflected by significant reductions in the tension generated at low frequency (20 Hz) relative to higher frequency (50 Hz) percutaneous stimulation of the quadriceps. All four subjects showed an increase in plasma levels of creatine kinase post eccentric exercise. Performing concentric contractions by walking uphill for one hour at a significantly greater metabolic cost failed to induce comparable reductions in muscle function. These results provide evidence for the consequences of prolonged eccentric work upon dynamic function which complements earlier reports of structural, enzymatic, and static function changes.

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Sargeant, A.J., Dolan, P. Human muscle function following prolonged eccentric exercise. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 704–711 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00424814

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Key words

  • Muscle
  • Eccentric contraction
  • Anaerobic power
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Force-frequency