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Tensiomyography parameters and serum biomarkers after eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors

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The tensiomyography (TMG) technique is increasingly used to determine muscle contractile properties in exercise and injury management. The present study investigated the informative value of TMG parameters in correlation with commonly used (creatine kinase, CK; myoglobin, Mb) and novel candidate biomarkers of muscle damage (heart-type fatty acid-binding protein, h-FABP; high-mobility group box 1, HMGB1).


Ten untrained men performed 6 × 10 eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors at 110% of the concentric one repetition maximum. CK, Mb, h-FABP, HMGB1, arm circumference, pain and TMG data, including maximal displacement (Dm) and temporal outcomes as the contraction time (Tc), sustained time (Ts), delay time (Td), and relaxation time (Tr), were assessed pre-exercise, post-exercise, 20 min, 2 h and on the consecutive 3 days post-exercise.


CK and h-FABP significantly increased beginning at 24 h, Mb already increased at 2 h (p < 0.05). HMGB1 was only increased immediately post-exercise (p = 0.02). Tc and Td remained unchanged, whereas Ts and Tr were significantly slower beginning at 24 h (p < 0.05). Dm was decreased within the first 24 h and after 72 h (p < 0.01). The % change from pre-exercise correlated for Dm with CK, Mb, and h-FABP the highest at 48 h (r = − 0.95, − 0.87 and − 0.79; p < 0.01) and for h-FABP with CK and Mb the highest at 24 h (r = 0.96 and 0.94, for all p < 0.001).


This study supports the correlation of TMG parameters with muscle damage markers after eccentric exercise. Therefore, TMG could represent a non-invasive and cost effective alternative to quantify the degree of muscle damage after exercise interventions.

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Analysis of variance


Adenosine triphosphate


Creatine kinase

D m :

Maximal displacement


Exercise-induced muscle damage


Heart-type fatty acid binding protein


High-mobility group box 1




Maximal voluntary contraction







T c :

Contraction time

T d :

Delay time

T r :

Relaxation time

T s :

Sustained time


Visual analog scale


One repetition maximum


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The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation. We thank TMG-BMC Ltd. (Ljubljana, Slovenia) for providing us a Tensiomyography device for the duration of the study.

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Authors and Affiliations



JFH, AF, CM, CZ, RK, and MB contributed to the concept and design of the study; JFH, AF, and CM collected the data; JFH, AF, and CM conducted the experiments; BAB and HS were responsible for the laboratory analysis; JFH, AF, and MB analyzed and interpreted the data; JFH and AF created the figures; JFH, AF, and CM wrote the initial draft of the manuscript; and all authors reviewed the manuscript, commented critically, and approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jan-Frieder Harmsen.

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Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there are no financial and personal relationships with third parties or organizations that could have inappropriately influenced the present work. The authors further state that no funding was received.

Additional information

Communicated by Olivier Seynnes.

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Harmsen, JF., Franz, A., Mayer, C. et al. Tensiomyography parameters and serum biomarkers after eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 455–464 (2019).

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