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Comparison of three protocols for measuring exercise induced muscle soreness

Mavropalias, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-7753-5693, Fatouros, I.G., Chatzinikolaou, A., Draganidis, D., Jamurtas, A.Z., Michailidis, Y., Douroudos-Ntourountos, I., Leontsini, D. and Avloniti, A. (2015) Comparison of three protocols for measuring exercise induced muscle soreness. In: 20th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science – Sustainable Sport, 24 - 27 June 2015, Malmö, Sweden


Introduction Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has been defined as a form of muscular hyperalgesia and manifests as pain and stiffness in the muscles several hours after strenuous or unaccustomed exercise (Clarkson et al., 1992). Multiple methods exist to assess the perceived soreness, however there are some limitations such as the standardization of the force applied during palpation and the difference of soreness perceived along the length of the muscle (Newham et al., 1983). The aim of this study was to compare different DOMS assessment protocols in their sensitivity to DOMS and other indicators. Methods Three different protocols of evaluating DOMS were compared in response to: a) a football match, b) a basketball match, c) a handball match, d) acute eccentric exercise, e) acute plyometric exercise, f) a weight training bout, g) acute intense running. DOMS and performance (vertical jumping, speed, maximal strength) were measured at baseline, 12 hours post-exercise as well as 1, 2, 3 and 4 days of recovery. The protocols of DOMS evaluated perceived soreness in quadriceps femoris by palpation a) in the standing position (STAN), b) in the sitting (SIT) position and c) in the standing position following three repetitions of a squat movement (SQUAT). Participants in these studies were a) both males and females, b) pre-adolescents, adolescents, adults and elderly and c) trained and sedentary. Results Data analysis revealed that SQUAT produced higher values than the other two DOMS protocols at 24 (for all exercise modes) and 48 hours (for eccentric exercise and plyometric training) of recovery. This difference was more pronounced in sedentary (vs. trained) and older participants (vs. younger adults and pre-adolescents/adolescents). No differences were noted between males and females. A significantly (p<0.05) higher correlation was observed between changes in SQUAT and performance at 24h and 48h than between changes in STAN and SIT. SQUAT produced higher DOMS values following team sports and running as compared to other exercise modes. Discussion The results of this study indicate that DOMS measurement following three squat repetitions may provide a more sensitive measure of muscle damage development following various exercise modes. References Clarkson, P.M., Nosaka, K. & Braun, B. (1992). Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation.

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