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Muscle Damage and Muscle Activity Induced by Strength Training Super-Sets in Physically Active Men

Brentano, Michel A.1,2; Umpierre, Daniel2,3; Santos, Lucas P.2,3; Lopes, André L.4; Radaelli, Regis5; Pinto, Ronei S.5; Kruel, Luiz F.M.5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 7 - p 1847–1858
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001511
Original Research

Brentano, MA, Umpierre, D, Santos, LP, Lopes, AL, Radaelli, R, Pinto, RS, and Kruel, LFM. Muscle damage and muscle activity induced by strength training super-sets in physically active men. J Strength Cond Res 31(7): 1847–1858, 2017—In strength training, muscle activity is often analyzed by surface electromyography (EMG) and muscle damage through indirect markers, such as plasma concentrations of creatine kinase (CK) after exercise. However, there is little information about the influence of the strength exercises order on these parameters. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of strength exercises order (super-sets) in muscle activity and indirect markers of muscle damage. Twenty men were randomly assigned to one of the strength training sessions (TS). Each TS (5 sets × 8–10 repetition maximum) consisted of 2 exercises for the knee extensor muscles and 2 exercises for the horizontal shoulder flexors performed in a different order: exercises for the same muscle group grouped (grouped exercises [GE]: n = 10; 26.6 ± 3.4 years; 17.4 ± 3.4 body fat) or separated (separated exercises [SE]: n = 10; 24.9 ± 2.6 years; 15.4 ± 5.9 body fat). Muscle activity was analyzed by surface EMG (vastus lateralis [VL], vastus medialis [VM], rectus femoris [RF], pectoralis major [PM], and anterior deltoid [AD]), and the main indirect marker of muscle damage was the CK, evaluated immediately before and after the first 5 days of each TS. There was a higher EMG activity of GE in the RF (GE: 88.4% × SE: 73.6%) and AD (GE: 176.4% × SE: 100.0%), in addition to greater concentration of CK (GE: 632.4% × SE: 330.5%) after exercise. Our findings suggest that, in physically active men, implementing super-sets with GE promotes greater muscle effort and muscle damage, wherein 5 days are not enough to recover the trained muscle groups.

1Occupational Health, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Porto Alegre, Brazil;

2Exercise Pathophysiology Research Laboratory, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil;

3Program in Cardiovascular Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil;

4Faculdade SOGIPA, Porto Alegre, Brazil; and

5Exercise Research Laboratory, Physical Education School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Address correspondence to Dr. Michel A. Brentano,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.