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Comparison among three different intensities of eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors resulting in the same strength loss at one day post-exercise for changes in indirect muscle damage markers



The present study compared three different intensity elbow flexor eccentric exercises resulting in the same magnitude of maximal voluntary isomeric contraction torque (MVC) decrease at 1 day post-exercise for changes in several indirect markers of muscle damage and proprioception.


Sedentary young men performed eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors using a dumbbell corresponding to either 10%, 50% or 100% of MVC to induce ~ 20% decrease in MVC at 1 day post-exercise (n = 12/group). MVC, range of motion (ROM), upper arm circumference (CIR), muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity, and proprioception measures (force match, joint position sense) were taken before to 5 days after exercise, and the changes were compared among the groups.


MVC and ROM recovered faster (P < 0.05) in the order of 10% (e.g., 3 days post-exercise: − 3 ± 4%, 0 ± 1%), 50% (− 12 ± 3%, − 3 ± 2%) and 100% group (− 16 ± 4%, − 5 ± 1%). Peak CIR, muscle soreness and CK activity were smaller for 10% (Δ3 ± 1 mm, 26 ± 10 mm, 1049 ± 316 IU/L) than 50% (Δ6 ± 2 mm, 36 ± 14 mm, 1473 ± 429 IU/L) and 100% groups (Δ8 ± 2 mm, 47 ± 15 mm, 2104 ± 929 IU/L). The proprioception measures recovered faster (P < 0.05) for 10% followed by 50% then 100% group. The recovery rate of MVC from immediately to 1 day post-exercise was correlated (P < 0.05) with the changes in the muscle damage and proprioception markers.


These results suggest that the MVC at 1 day post-exercise does not necessarily predict the changes in muscle damage markers in the following days, but the MVC recovery rate in the first 24 h reflects the magnitude of muscle damage better.

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Analysis of variance


Angle match


Upper arm circumference


Creatine kinase


Coefficient of variation


Delayed onset muscle soreness


Eccentric contractions


Extracellular matrix


Elbow flexors


Eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage




Force match




Maximal voluntary isometric contraction


Recovery rate of MVC

R :

Intraclass correlation coefficient


Rating of perceived exertion


Joint position sense


Range of motion


Standard deviation


Muscle soreness


Visual analog scale

η 2 :

Eta-squared values


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This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST 105–2410-H-003–052-MY3), Taiwan.

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Authors and Affiliations



All authors (TCC, GLH, CCH, KWT, WCT, TYC, and KN) contributed to the data analysis and interpretation of the data, drafting, and revising the manuscript, and approved the final version of the manuscript. The original study design was made by TCC and KN, and discussed with the other authors, and TCC, GLH and CCH performed data collection.

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Correspondence to Trevor C. Chen.

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All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University Institutional Research Ethic Committee for Human Subjects and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Communicated by William J. Kraemer.

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Chen, T.C., Huang, GL., Hsieh, CC. et al. Comparison among three different intensities of eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors resulting in the same strength loss at one day post-exercise for changes in indirect muscle damage markers. Eur J Appl Physiol 120, 267–279 (2020).

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  • Lengthening contractions
  • Maximal isometric contraction strength
  • Recovery
  • Muscle strength
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Force mismatch
  • Position error