Dissociated Time Course of Recovery Between Genders Following Resistance Exercise

Comparisons between men and women of time course responses of strength, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and muscle swelling after a resistance training session are still controversial. Therefore, this study examined gender differences in strength loss, muscle thickness (MT), and DOMS between young men and women. Thirty apparently healthy, untrained volunteers (14 women and 16 men) participated in the study protocol. The resistance exercise session consisted of 8 sets at 10 repetition maximum load of the elbow flexor muscles of their dominant arm. Maximum isokinetic peak torque (PT), MT, and DOMS were recorded at baseline (TB), immediately after exercise (T0), and at 1 (T1), 2 (T2), 3 (T3), and 4 (T4) days after exercise. Baseline strength was expressed as 100%. There were no significant differences between the sexes for relative PT loss immediately after exercise (T0 = 74.31 ± 8.26% for men and 76.00 ± 6.31% for women). Also, PT was still significantly less than baseline from T1 to T4 for both genders. In contrast, recovery from PT was longer in women when compared with that in men. Muscle thickness responded similarly to PT in both genders. However, 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 T2 (4.94 ± 2.38 mm for men and 4.45 ± 2.07 mm for women). Our data suggest that after resistance exercise, women and men experience similar immediate strength loss; however they have dissimilar strength recovery across 4 days of recovery. Likewise, both genders experience a different time course of MT response after a traditional resistance exercise protocol. In contrast, men and women develop and dissipate muscle soreness in a similar manner.


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