Bottaro, M., Brown, L. E., Gentil, P., Pinto, R. S., Martorelli, S., Jesus, D., & Flores, D. (2011). Dissociated time course of recovery between genders following resistance exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 1707.

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This study examined gender differences in strength loss, muscle thickness, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) between young men (N = 16) and women (N = 14). A resistance exercise session consisted of 8 sets at a 10-repetition maximum load of the elbow flexor muscles of the dominant arm. Maximum isokinetic peak torque, muscle thickness, and DOMS were recorded at baseline, immediately after exercise, and at one, two, three, and four days after exercise.

In men, peak torque immediately after exercise significantly decreased to ~74% of baseline values. One day after exercise, it significantly returned to ~87% and continued to significantly increase (~93%) until the fourth day. In women, peak torque at immediately after exercise significantly decreased to ~76% of baseline. However, the women's peak torque did not follow the same trend as the men in recovery. Women's peak torque was not significantly different between the second and third day or between the third and fourth days of recovery. On the fourth day it was still significantly less than baseline. Muscle thickness also responded with trends similar to those shown for peak torque in both genders. There was no significant difference between genders for DOMS at any time point. The time point that showed the greatest degree of mean soreness was on the second day.

Implication. Following resistance exercise, women and men experience similar immediate strength loss, but strength recovery and muscle thickness across four days are gender specific. Men and women develop and dissipate muscle soreness in a similar manner.

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