Systemic inflammatory responses to maximal versus submaximal lengthening contractions of the elbow flexors

Jonathan M. Peake*, Kazunori Nosaka, Makii Muthalib, Katsuhiko Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


We compared changes in markers of muscle damage and systemic inflammation after submaximal and maximal lengthening muscle contractions of the elbow flexors. Using a cross-over design, 10 healthy young men not involved in resistance training completed a submaximal trial (10 sets of 60 lengthening contractions at 10% maximum isometric strength, 1 min rest between sets), followed by a maximal trial (10 sets of three lengthening contractions at 100% maximum isometric strength, 3 min rest between sets). Lengthening contractions were performed on an isokinetic dynamometer. Opposite arms were used for the submaximal and maximal trials, and the trials were separated by a minimum of two weeks. Blood was sampled before, immediately after, 1 h, 3 h, and 1-4 d after each trial. Total leukocyte and neutrophil numbers, and the serum concentration of soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor 1 were elevated after both trials (P<0.01), but there were no differences between the trials. Serum IL-6 concentration was elevated 3 h after the submaximal contractions (P<0.01). The concentrations of serum tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1 receptor antagonist, IL-10, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor and plasma C-reactive protein remained unchanged following both trials. Maximum isometric strength and range of motion decreased significantly (P<0.001) after both trials, and were lower from 1-4 days after the maximal contractions compared to the submaximal contractions. Plasma myoglobin concentration and creatine kinase activity, muscle soreness and upper arm circumference all increased after both trials (P<0.01), but were not significantly different between the trials. Therefore, there were no differences in markers of systemicinflammation, despite evidence of greater muscle damage following maximal versus submaximal lengthening contractions of the elbow flexors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalExercise immunology review
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec 1


  • C-reactive protein
  • Calprotectin
  • Cytokines
  • Leukocytes
  • Muscle damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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