European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 211–223 | Cite as

Comparison in eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage among four limb muscles

  • Trevor C. ChenEmail author
  • Kun-Yi Lin
  • Hsin-Lian Chen
  • Ming-Ju Lin
  • Kazunori Nosaka
Original Article


This study tested the hypothesis that changes in indirect markers of muscle damage following maximal eccentric exercise would be smaller for the knee extensors (KE) and flexors (KF) compared with the elbow flexors (EF) and extensors (EE). A total of 17 sedentary men performed five sets of six maximal isokinetic (90° s−1) eccentric contractions of EF (range of motion, ROM: 90°–0°, 0 = full extension), EE (55°–145°), KF (90°–0°), and KE (30°–120°) using a different limb with a 4–5-week interval in a counterbalanced order. Changes in maximal isometric and concentric isokinetic strength, optimum angle, limb circumference, ROM, plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration, muscle soreness, and echo-intensity of B-mode ultrasound images before and for 5 days following exercise were compared amongst the four exercises using two-way repeated-measures ANOVA. All variables changed significantly following EF, EE, and KF exercises, but KE exercise did not change the optimum angle, limb circumference, and echo-intensity. Compared with KF and KE, EF and EE showed significantly greater changes in all variables, without significant differences between EF and EE. Changes in all variables were significantly greater for KF than KE. For the same subjects, the magnitude of change in the dependent variables following exercise varied among the exercises. These results suggest that the two arm muscles are equally more susceptible to muscle damage than leg muscles, but KF is more susceptible to muscle damage than KE. The difference in the susceptibility to muscle damage seems to be associated with the use of muscles in daily activities.


Lengthening exercise Muscle strength Optimum angle Delayed onset muscle soreness Flexors Extensors 



This research was supported by the National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 98-2410-H-415-042) and Edith Cowan University, Australia. The authors would like to thanks Professor Tsai-Wei Huang, Department of Counseling at National Chiayi University, for his assistance with the statistical design and analysis.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Becker I, Woodley S, Baxter GD (2009) Gross morphology of the vastus lateralis muscle: an anatomical review. Clin Anat 22:436–450CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Black CD, McCully KK (2008) Muscle injury after repeated bouts of voluntary and electrically stimulated exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40:1605–1615CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowers EJ, Morgan DL, Proske U (2004) Damage to the human quadriceps muscle from eccentric exercise and the training effect. J Sports Sci 22:1005–1014CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Brockett CL, Morgan DL, Proske U (2001) Human hamstring muscles adapt to eccentric exercise by changing optimum length. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:783–790PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Byrne C, Twist C, Eston R (2004) Neuromuscular function after exercise-induced muscle damage: theoretical and applied implications. Sports Med 34:49–69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman DW, Newton M, McGuigan M, Nosaka K (2008) Effect of lengthening contraction velocity on muscle damage of the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40:926–933CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen TC, Nosaka K (2006) Responses of elbow flexors to two strenuous eccentric exercise bouts separated by three days. J Strength Cond Res 20:108–116PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen TC, Nosaka K, Sacco P (2007) Intensity of eccentric exercise, shift of optimum angle and the magnitude of repeated bout effect. J Appl Physiol 102:992–999CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 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 four weeks. Eur J Appl Physiol 106:267–275CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chelboun GS, France AR, Crill MT, Braddock HK, Howell JN (2001) In vivo measurement of fascicle length and pennation angle of the human biceps femoris muscle. Cells Tissues Organs 169:401–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarkson PM, Hubal MJ (2002) Exercise-induced muscle damage in humans. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 81:S52–S69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarkson PM, Nosaka K, Braun B (1992) Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:512–520PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Clarkson PM, Hoffman EP, Zambraski E, Gordish-Dressman H, Kearns A, Hubal M, Harmon B, Devaney JM (2005) ACTN3 and MLCK genotype associations with exertional muscle damage. J Appl Physiol 99:564–569CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Cramer JT, Beck TW, Housh TJ, Massey LL, Marek SM, Danglemeier S, Purkayastha S, Culbertson JY, Fitz KA, Egan AD (2007) Acute effects of static stretching on characteristics of the isokinetic angle-torque relationship, surface electromyography, and mechanomyography. J Sports Sci 25:687–698CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Crameri RM, Aagaard P, Qvortrup K, Langberg H, Olesen J, Kjær M (2007) Myofibre damage in human skeletal muscle: effects of electrical stimulation versus voluntary contraction. J Physiol (Lond) 583:365–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dudley GA, Czerkawski J, Meinrod A, Gillis G, Baldwin A, Scarpone M (1997) Efficacy of naproxen sodium for exercise-induced dysfunction muscle injury and soreness. Clin J Sport Med 7:3–10CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Erskine RM, Jones DA, Maganaris CN, Degens H (2009) In vivo specific tension of the human quadriceps femoris muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol 106:827–838CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Franklin ME, Chamness MS, Chenier TC, Mosteller GC, Barrow LA (1993) A comparison of isokinetic eccentric exercise on delayed-onset muscle soreness and creatine kinase in the quadriceps versus the hamstrings. Isokinet Exerc Sci 3:68–73Google Scholar
  19. Fridén J, Sjøstrøm M, Ekblom B (1983) Myofibrillar damage following intense eccentric exercise in man. Int J Sports Med 4(3):170–176CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Golden CL, Dudley GA (1992) Strength after bouts of eccentric or concentric actions. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:926–933PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hawes MR, Martin AD (2001) Human body composition. In: Eston R, Reilly T (eds) Kinanthropometry and exercise physiology laboratory manual: tests, procedures and data. Routledge, London, pp 42–43Google Scholar
  22. Hirose L, Nosaka K, Newton M, Lavender A, Kano M, Peake J, Suzuki K (2004) Changes in inflammatory mediators following eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Exerc Immunol Rev 10:75–90PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoeger WWK, Barette SL, Hale DP, Hopkins DR (1987) Relationship between repetitions and selected percentages of one repetition maximum. J Appl Sport Sci Res 1:11–13Google Scholar
  24. Hoeger WWK, Hopkins DR, Barette SL, Hale DP (1990) Relationship between repetitions and selected percentages of one repetition maximum: a comparison between untrained and trained males and females. J Appl Sport Sci Res 4:47–54Google Scholar
  25. Hubal MJ, Devaney JM, Hoffman EP, Zambraski EJ, Gordish-Dressman H, Kearns AK, Larkin JS, Adham K, Patel RR, Clarkson PM (2010) CCL2 and CCR2 polymorphisms are associated with markers of exercise-induced skeletal muscle damage. J Appl Physiol 108:1651–1658CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson MA, Polgar J, Weightman D, Appleton D (1973) Data on the distribution of fibre types in thirty-six human muscles. An autopsy study. J Neurol Sci 18:111–129CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Jamurtas AZ, Theocharis V, Tofas T, Tsiokanos A, Yfanti C, Paschalis V, Koutedakis Y, Nosaka K (2005) Comparison between leg and arm eccentric exercises of the same relative intensity on indices of muscle damage. Eur J Appl Physiol 95:179–185CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lieber RL (2002) Skeletal muscle structure, function, and plasticity: the physiological basis of rehabilitation, 2nd edn. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  29. Makihara Y, Nishino A, Fukubayashi T, Kanamori A (2006) Decrease of knee flexion torque in patients with ACL reconstruction: combined analysis of the architecture and function of the knee flexor muscles. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 14:310–317CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. McHugh MP (2003) Recent advances in the understanding of the repeated bout effect: the protective effect against muscle damage from a single bout of eccentric exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sports 13:88–97CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. McHugh MP, Connolly DAJ, Eston RG, Gleim GW (1999) Exercise-induced muscle damage and potential mechanisms for the repeated bout effect. Sports Med 27:157–170CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Newton MJ, Morgan GT, Sacco P, Chapman DW, Nosaka K (2008) Comparison of responses to strenuous eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors between resistance-trained and untrained men. J Strength Cond Res 22:597–607CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Nosaka K, Clarkson PM (1996) Changes in indicators of inflammation after eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:953–961PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Nosaka K, Newton M (2002) Difference in the magnitude of muscle damage between maximal and submaximal eccentric loading. J Strength Cond Res 16:202–208PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Nosaka K, Sakamoto K, Newton M, Sacco P (2001) The repeated bout effect of reduced-load eccentric exercise on elbow flexor muscle damage. Eur J Appl Physiol 85(1–2):34–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Orchard J, Seward H (2002) Epidemiology of injuries in the Australian football league, seasons 1997–2000. Br J Sports Med 36:39–44CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Paschalis V, Koutedakis Y, Baltzopoulos V, Mougios V, Jamurtas JZ, Giakas G (2005) Short vs. long length of rectus femoris during eccentric exercise in relation to muscle damage in healthy males. Clin Biomech 20:617–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Perotto AO (1994) Anatomical guide for the electromyographer: the limbs and trunk, 3rd edn. Charles C Thomas Publisher, Springfield, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  39. 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
  40. Saka T, Akova B, Yazici Z, Sekir U, Gür H, Ozarda Y (2009) Difference in the magnitude of muscle damage between elbow flexors and knee extensors eccentric exercises. J Sports Sci Med 8:107–115Google Scholar
  41. Slavotinek JP, Verrall GM, Fon GT (2002) Hamstring injury in athletes: using MR imaging measurements to compare extent of muscle injury with amount of time lost from competition. Am J Roentgenol 179:1621–1628Google Scholar
  42. Slater H, Thériault E, Ronningen BO, Clark R, Nosaka K (2010) Exercise-induced mechanical hypoalgesia in musculotendinous tissues of the lateral elbow. Man Ther 15:66–73CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Visser JJ, Hoogkamer JE, Bobbert MF, Huijing PA (1990) Length and moment arm of human leg muscles as a function of knee and hip-joint angles. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 61:453–460CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Wickiewicz TL, Roy RR, Powell PL, Edgerton VR (1983) Muscle architecture of the human lower limb. Clin Orthop Relat Res 179:275–283CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor C. Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kun-Yi Lin
    • 2
  • Hsin-Lian Chen
    • 1
  • Ming-Ju Lin
    • 3
  • Kazunori Nosaka
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Physical EducationNational Chiayi UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of Sport, and Leisure EducationNational Chung Cheng UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan
  3. 3.Graduate Institute of Sport Coaching ScienceChinese Culture UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

Personalised recommendations