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The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of changes in stride length on the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) during a repeated bout of downhill running in a group of 18 men and women. Muscle tenderness, plasma creatine kinase activity (CK) and maximal voluntary isometric force were measured before and after two downhill runs, with each run separated by 5 weeks. The first downhill run was at the preferred stride frequency (PSF). Participants were then randomly allocated to one of three sex-balanced groups with equal numbers of men and women: overstride (-8% PSF), understride (+8% PSF) and normal stride frequency for the second downhill run. Stride length had no effect (P>0.05) on muscle tenderness, CK or isometric peak force. Increases in muscle tenderness (P<0.001) and CK were lower (P<0.05) following the second downhill run, although there was no difference in the pattern and extent of the strength decrement between the two runs. There were also no differences (P>0.05) in muscle tenderness, CK or the relative strength loss between the men and the women. Results suggest that the symptoms of EIMD are unaffected by gender and small alterations to the normal stride pattern during constant velocity downhill running. The observation that muscle tenderness and CK were reduced following a repeated bout of similar eccentric exercise is consistent with the phenomenon known as the 'repeated bout effect' of muscle damage.

Original publication




Journal article


Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports

Publication Date





199 - 204


School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, University of Wales, Gwynedd, UK.


Humans, Muscular Diseases, Creatine Kinase, Exercise, Walking, Sex Factors, Running, Adult, Female, Male