Purpose The magnitude of muscle damage induced by maximal eccentric exercise is attenuated when the same exercise is repeated by homologous muscle of the ipsilateral or contralateral limb. It is not known if the muscle damage-protective effect is also transferred to nonhomologous muscles. The present study investigated the effects of unilateral knee extensor (KE) or flexor (KF) eccentric exercise on muscle damage induced by elbow flexor (EF) eccentric exercise of the ipsilateral or contralateral side. Methods Young healthy sedentary men were assigned to four experimental groups (n = 13 per group) that performed five sets of six maximal eccentric contractions (MaxEC) of the KE or KF of the same or opposite side of the arm that performed MaxEC of the EF 1 wk later, and a control group that performed two bouts of MaxEC of the EF using a different arm for each bout separated by 1 wk. Changes in several indirect muscle damage markers were compared among the groups by mixed-design, two-way ANOVA. Results Changes in maximal voluntary concentric contraction torque, range of motion, muscle soreness, and plasma creatine kinase activity after KE or KF MaxEC were not different (P > 0.05) between legs, but greater (P < 0.05) after KF than KE MaxEC. The changes in the variables after EF MaxEC in the experimental groups were not different (P > 0.05) from the first bout of the control group but larger (P < 0.05) than the second bout of the control group, and no differences between the ipsilateral and contralateral sides were evident. Conclusions These results showed that no protective effect on EF MaxEC was conferred by the leg exercises, suggesting that muscle damage protection was not transferred from KE or KF to EF.
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