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Attenuation of muscle damage by preconditioning with muscle hyperthermia 1-day prior to eccentric exercise


This study investigated the hypothesis that muscle damage would be attenuated in muscles subjected to passive hyperthermia 1 day prior to exercise. Fifteen male students performed 24 maximal eccentric actions of the elbow flexors with one arm; the opposite arm performed the same exercise 2–4 weeks later. The elbow flexors of one arm received a microwave diathermy treatment that increased muscle temperature to over 40°C, 16–20 h prior to the exercise. The contralateral arm acted as an untreated control. Maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (MVC), range of motion (ROM), upper arm circumference, muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration were measured 1 day prior to exercise, immediately before and after exercise, and daily for 4 days following exercise. Changes in the criterion measures were compared between conditions (treatment vs. control) using a two-way repeated measures ANOVA with a significance level of P < 0.05. All measures changed significantly following exercise, but the treatment arm showed a significantly faster recovery of MVC, a smaller change in ROM, and less muscle soreness compared with the control arm. However, the protective effect conferred by the diathermy treatment was significantly less effective compared with that seen in the second bout performed 4–6 weeks after the initial bout by a subgroup of the subjects (n = 11) using the control arm. These results suggest that passive hyperthermia treatment 1 day prior to eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage has a prophylactic effect, but the effect is not as strong as the repeated bout effect.

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Correspondence to K. Nosaka.

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Nosaka, K., Muthalib, M., Lavender, A. et al. Attenuation of muscle damage by preconditioning with muscle hyperthermia 1-day prior to eccentric exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 99, 183–192 (2007).

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  • Microwave
  • Muscle temperature
  • Muscle soreness
  • Isometric strength
  • Creatine kinase
  • Myoglobin
  • Heat shock proteins