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A low dose of alcohol does not impact skeletal muscle performance after exercise-induced muscle damage

Abstract

Moderate, acute alcohol consumption after eccentric exercise has been shown to magnify the muscular weakness that is typically associated with exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). As it is not known whether this effect is dose-dependent, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a low dose of alcohol on EIMD-related losses in muscular performance. Ten healthy males performed 300 maximal eccentric contractions of the quadriceps muscles of one leg on an isokinetic dynamometer. They then consumed either a beverage containing 0.5 g of alcohol per kg bodyweight (as vodka and orange juice) or an isocaloric, isovolumetric non-alcoholic beverage. At least 2 weeks later, they performed an equivalent bout of eccentric exercise on the contralateral leg after which they consumed the other beverage. Measurement of peak and average peak isokinetic (concentric and eccentric) and isometric torque produced by the quadriceps was made before and 36 and 60 h post-exercise. Significant decreases in all measures of muscular performance were observed over time under both conditions (all P < 0.05); however, no difference between treatments was evident at any of the measured time points (all P > 0.05). Therefore, consumption of a low dose of alcohol after damaging exercise appears to have no effect on the loss of force associated with strenuous eccentric exercise.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Matthew J. Barnes.

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Communicated by William Kraemer.

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Barnes, M.J., Mündel, T. & Stannard, S.R. A low dose of alcohol does not impact skeletal muscle performance after exercise-induced muscle damage. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 725–729 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1655-8

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Keywords

  • Ethanol
  • Muscle strength
  • Soft tissue injuries