The effects of eccentric exercise on motor performance in young and older women

  • Mary E. Dedrick
  • Priscilla M. Clarkson


The purpose of the present study was to determine if old individuals show a greater exercise-induced decrement in motor performance and slower recovery compared to young individuals. Ten college-age women (23.6 years) and ten older women (67.4 years) performed an exercise consisting of 24 eccentric actions of the forearm flexors. In young subjects, eccentric exercise is known to produce repairable muscle damage. Before the exercise and for 5 days after, isometric strength, soreness, reaction time, and movement time were measured. For both groups, strength was reduced and soreness developed in the days following the exercise, generally indicating that muscle damage had occurred. The older subjects showed a slower strength recovery such that by 5 days after exercise they had not returned to their initial level of strength. There was no significant difference in soreness development between groups. Reaction time and movement time were not adversely affected by the exercise. Thus, the older subjects demonstrated a slower strength recovery after damage-inducing exercise, and, with regard to response speed, the older subjects could compensate for the impaired muscle function as well as the younger subjects.

Key words

Eccentric exercise Aging Motor performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Dedrick
    • 1
  • Priscilla M. Clarkson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Exercise ScienceUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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