The effect of downhill running conditions on muscle damage in recreationally active adults

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Universidad de Alicante. Área de Educación Física y Deporte
Background: Downhill running (DR) has been used extensively to investigate recovery from muscle-damaging exercise. There is no consensus on the optimal conditions (duration, severity, intensity) for a DR protocol. The purpose of this research was to determine the most effective DR conditions to induce muscle damage. Methods: The research was comprised a 3x3 within-between participant design. Recreationally active males’ (n = 12) muscle damage was assessed using gold standard indirect markers (force loss and muscle soreness) at baseline, 24 and 48h post one of three DR conditions (a. 45min at -10% gradient b. 45min at -12% c. 30min at -15%). DR was completed on a motorised treadmill at 70% velocity of V̇O2peak achieved during an incremental exercise test to exhaustion. Results: Isometric force (p = .005, ηp2 = 0.45) and muscle soreness (p = .002, ηp2 = 0.49) were impaired 24h post-exercise; no difference (p > .05) was evident between conditions. At 48h the impairments in force loss and muscle soreness were no longer evident (p > .05) across all conditions. There was no difference (p = .82) in HR between the DR conditions. Findings: Independent of duration and gradient all conditions resulted in a similar response in force loss and muscle soreness, indicating muscle damage had occurred. Interestingly, the 30-min protocol produced the same response in less time, without requiring individuals to work at a greater intensity. Therefore, the 30-min condition is suggested as the most appropriate protocol for use in the scientific investigation of muscle damage from DR.
Southall-Edwards R, Innes S, Ali A, Jones B. (2022). The effect of downhill running conditions on muscle damage in recreationally active adults. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise. 17. (pp. 400-408).