Variability in muscle damage after eccentric exercise and the repeated bout effect

Trevor C. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The first purpose of this study was to determine a possible explanation for the variability in the response to eccentric exercise by having participants repeat the same exercise 1 year apart. The second purpose was to examine whether initial injury in response to eccentric exercise was associated with the extent of the repeated bout effect (RBE). Male students performed 30 eccentric contractions (ECC) of the elbow flexors using a dumbbell set at 80% of the pre-exercise maximal isometric force (MIF). Participants were then classified into low (LR; n = 6), medium (MR; n = 6), high (HR; n = 5), and higher (HrR; n = 7) based on the increase in blood creatine kinase (CK) activity. A year later, participants repeated this exercise (ECC30). Four days after ECC30, participants performed 70 eccentric contractions (ECC70). Range of motion, MIF, upper arm circumference, soreness, and blood CK activity were measured before and up to 9 days after each bout. The change in the criterion measures following ECC and ECC30 were similar for each group. There were no further changes in all parameters after ECC70 for MR, HR, and HrR, although there was a small increase in CK after ECC70 for LR. LR showed a smaller RBE after ECC70 compared with the other groups. It is concluded that participants who exercised 1 year apart showed remarkably similar responses between the bouts. The extent of the RBE following the second bout for the LR group is less for participants who demonstrate the least evidence of muscle damage after a first exercise bout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-371
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation effect
  • Creatine kinase responders
  • Repair process
  • Strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


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