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Velocity-Specific Strength Recovery After a Second Bout of Eccentric Exercise

Barss, Trevor S.; Magnus, Charlene R.A.; Clarke, Nick; Lanovaz, Joel L.; Chilibeck, Philip D.; Kontulainen, Saija A.; Arnold, Bart E.; Farthing, Jonathan P.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 339–349
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31829d23dd
Original Research

Barss, TS, Magnus, CRA, Clarke, N, Lanovaz, JL, Chilibeck, PD, Kontulainen, SA, Arnold, BE, and Farthing, JP. Velocity-specific strength recovery after a second bout of eccentric exercise. J Strength Cond Res 28(2): 339–349, 2014—A bout of eccentric exercise (ECC) has the protective effect of reducing muscle damage during a subsequent bout of ECC known as the “repeated bout effect” (RBE). The purpose of this study was to determine if the RBE is greater when both bouts of ECC are performed using the same vs. different velocity of contraction. Thirty-one right-handed participants were randomly assigned to perform an initial bout of either fast (3.14 rad·s−1 [180°·s−1]) or slow (0.52 rad·s−1 [30°·s−1]) maximal isokinetic ECCs of the elbow flexors. Three weeks later, the participants completed another bout of ECC at the same velocity (n = 16), or at a different velocity (n = 15). Indirect muscle damage markers were measured before, immediately after, and at 24, 48, and 72 hours postexercise. Measures included maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) strength (dynamometer), muscle thickness (MT; ultrasound), delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS; visual analog scale), biceps and triceps muscle activation amplitude (electromyography), voluntary activation (interpolated twitch), and twitch torque. After the repeated bout, MVC strength recovered faster compared with the same time points after the initial bout for only the same velocity group (p = 0.017), with no differences for all the other variables. Irrespective of velocity, MT and DOMS were reduced after the repeated bout compared with that of the initial bout at 24, 48, and 72 hours with a corresponding increase in TT at 72 hours (p < 0.05). Faster recovery of isometric strength associated with a repeated bout of ECC was evident when the velocity was matched between bouts, suggesting that specificity effects contribute to the RBE. The current findings support the idea of multiple mechanisms contributing to the RBE.

College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Address correspondence to Jonathan P. Farthing,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.