Neuromuscular changes and the rapid adaptation following a bout of damaging eccentric exercise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Stuart Goodall
  • Kevin Thomas
  • Martin Barwood
  • Karen Keane
  • Javier Gonzalez
  • Alan St Clair Gibson
  • Glyn Howatson
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Physiologica
Early online date5 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2017
An initial bout of eccentric exercise is known to protect against muscle damage following a repeated bout of the same exercise, however, the neuromuscular adaptions owing to this phenomenon are unknown. Aim: To determine if neuromuscular disturbances are modulated following a repeated bout of eccentric exercise. Methods: Following eccentric exercise performed with the elbow-flexors, we measured maximal voluntary force, resting twitch force, muscle soreness, creatine kinase and voluntary activation using motor point and motor cortex stimulation at baseline, immediately post and at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 days post-exercise on two occasions, separated by 3 weeks. Results: Significant muscle damage and fatigue was evident following the first exercise bout; maximal voluntary contraction was reduced immediately by 32% and remained depressed at 7 days post-exercise. Soreness and creatine kinase release peaked at 3 and 4 days post-exercise, respectively. Resting twitch force remained significantly reduced at 7 days (−48%) whilst voluntary activation measured with motor point and motor cortex stimulation was reduced until 2 and 3 days, respectively. A repeated bout effect was observed with attenuated soreness and creatine kinase release and a quicker recovery of maximal voluntary contraction and resting twitch force. A similar decrement in voluntary activation was observed following both bouts; however, following the repeated bout there was a significantly smaller reduction in, and a faster recovery of voluntary activation measured using motor cortical stimulation. Conclusion: Our data suggest that the repeated bout effect may be explained, partly, by a modification in motor corticospinal drive.

    Research areas

  • Fatigue, lengthening contractions, motor cortex, recovery, repeated bout , stimulation


  • Goodall_et_al_2016_Final_Accepted

    Rights statement: © 2016 Scandinavian Physiological Society. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Barwood, M., Keane, K., Gonzalez, J. T., St Clair Gibson, A. and Howatson, G. (2017), Neuromuscular changes and the rapid adaptation following a bout of damaging eccentric exercise. Acta Physiol. doi:10.1111/apha.12844, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.88 MB, PDF document

External organisations

  • Northumbria University
  • University of Bath
  • University of Waikato
  • North-West University

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