Purpose: Low-intensity eccentric contractions with a load corresponding to 10% of maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (10% EC) attenuate muscle damage in a subsequent bout of higher-intensity eccentric contractions performed within 2 weeks for the elbow flexors, knee flexors and knee extensors. However, it is not known whether this strategy could be applied to other muscles. This study investigated whether 10% EC would confer damage protective effect on high-intensity eccentric contractions (80% EC) for nine different muscle groups. Methods: Untrained young men were placed to an experimental or a control group (n = 12/group). Experimental group performed 50 eccentric contractions with a load corresponding to 10% EC at 2 days prior to 50 eccentric contractions with 80% EC for the elbow flexors and extensors, pectoralis, knee flexors and extensors, plantar flexors, latissimus, abdominis and erector spinae. Control group performed 80% EC without 10% EC. Changes in maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength (MVC) and muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and myoglobin concentration after 80% EC were compared between groups by a mixed-factor ANOVA. Results: MVC recovered faster (e.g., 6–31% greater MVC at 5 days post-exercise), and peak muscle soreness was 36–54% lower for Experimental than Control group for the nine muscles (P < 0.05). Increases in plasma CK activity and myoglobin concentration were smaller for Experimental (e.g., peak CK: 2763 ± 3459 IU/L) than Control group (120,360 ± 50,158 IU/L). Conclusions: These results showed that 10% EC was effective for attenuating the magnitude of muscle damage after 80% EC for all muscles, although the magnitude of the protective effect differed among the muscles.
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