Sports Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 49–69 | Cite as

Neuromuscular Function After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

Theoretical and Applied Implications
Review Article

Abstract

Exercise-induced muscle damage is a well documented phenomenon particularly resulting from eccentric exercise. When eccentric exercise is unaccustomed or is performed with an increased intensity or duration, the symptoms associated with muscle damage are a common outcome and are particularly associated with participation in athletic activity. Muscle damage results in an immediate and prolonged reduction in muscle function, most notably a reduction in force-generating capacity, which has been quantified in human studies through isometric and dynamic isokinetic testing modalities. Investigations of the torque-angular velocity relationship have failed to reveal a consistent pattern of change, with inconsistent reports of functional change being dependent on the muscle action and/or angular velocity of movement. The consequences of damage on dynamic, multi-joint, sport-specific movements would appear more pertinent with regard to athletic performance, but this aspect of muscle function has been studied less often. Reductions in the ability to generate power output during single-joint movements as well as during cycling and vertical jump movements have been documented. In addition, muscle damage has been observed to increase the physiological demand of endurance exercise and to increase thermal strain during exercise in the heat. The aims of this review are to summarise the functional decrements associated with exercise-induced muscle damage, relate these decrements to theoretical views regarding underlying mechanisms (i.e. sarcomere disruption, impaired excitation-contraction coupling, preferential fibre type damage, and impaired muscle metabolism), and finally to discuss the potential impact of muscle damage on athletic performance.

Notes

Acknowledgements

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The views and opinions contained in this review are those of the authors and should not be taken to represent an official position of the Singapore Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence, Singapore.

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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Human Performance, Defence Medical and Environmental Research InstituteDSO National LaboratoriesRepublic of Singapore
  2. 2.Department of Sport and Exercise SciencesNorth East Wales Institute of Higher EducationWrexhamUK
  3. 3.School of Sport Health and Exercise SciencesUniversity of WalesBangorUK

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