This study compared maximal (MAX-ECC) and submaximal (50%-ECC) eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Untrained male students (n = 8) performed 3 sets of 10 repetitions of MAX-ECC with one arm and 50%-ECC with the other arm, separated by 4 weeks. In MAX-ECC, the elbow joint was forcibly extended from a flexed (90[degrees]) to a full-extended position (180[degrees]) in 3 seconds while producing maximal force. For 50%-ECC, a dumbbell set at 50% of the maximal isometric strength at 90[degrees] of the elbow joint was lowered from the flexed to the extended position in 3 seconds. Changes in indicators of muscle damage were compared between the bouts by a 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance. Changes in isometric strength, range of motion, upper arm circumference, and plasma creatine kinase activity were significantly smaller and the recovery was significantly faster for 50%-ECC compared with MAX-ECC, although the differences in the changes immediately after exercise were small. It appeared that the magnitude of initial muscle damage was similar between the bouts; however, secondary damage was less after 50%-ECC.
(C) 2002 National Strength and Conditioning Association