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Acute muscle damage as a stimulus for training-induced gains in strength

Folland, Jonathan P. and Chong, James and Copeman, Elizabeth M. and Jones, David A. (2001) Acute muscle damage as a stimulus for training-induced gains in strength. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 33 (7). pp. 1200-1205. ISSN 0195-9131

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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a single acute bout of maximal eccentric work upon the strength gains during 9 subsequent weeks of strength training. Eccentric work causes acute muscle damage that may initiate compensatory hypertrophy and enhance training-induced gains in strength. METHODS: Twenty-six healthy adults (21 +/- 1 yr, 7 women) trained the elbow flexors 3 d per week for 9 wk. One arm (C) performed purely conventional isotonic training, i.e., lifting and lowering. The other arm (E) began with a single bout of maximal eccentric work but thereafter undertook identical isotonic training. Every week dynamic lifting strength (1 RM) and isometric strength were measured. RESULTS: The results indicated that an acute bout of eccentric muscle damage does not accentuate training-induced gains in strength. Isometric strength of arm E fell by 15 +/- 2% (mean +/- SEM) 2 d after the bout of eccentric work, and, 4 d afterward, plasma creatine kinase levels were 1502 +/- 397 IU.L-1. Although arm E displayed rapid gains in strength from 2 d after the bout of eccentric work, these were not sustained, and for several weeks arm E showed significantly smaller gains in strength than arm C (isometric strength, 2 wk; dynamic lifting strength, 5 wk). CONCLUSIONS: After 9 wk of training, the gains in both isometric and dynamic lifting strength were similar for the two arms. A single bout of damaging eccentric work did not enhance the response to conventional strength training and significantly compromised strength gains for several weeks.

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