The Effect of Warm-Up and Cool-Down Exercise on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in the Quadriceps Muscle: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Open access

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of warm-up and cool-down exercise on delayed onset of muscle soreness at the distal and central parts of rectus femoris following leg resistance exercise. Thirty-six volunteers (21 women, 15 men) were randomly assigned to the warm-up (20 min ergometer cycling prior to the resistance exercise), cool-down (20 min cycling after the resistance exercise), or control group performing resistance exercise only. The resistance exercise consisted of front lunges (10x5 repetitions/sets) with external loading of 40% (women) and 50% (men) of body mass. Primary outcomes were pressure pain threshold along rectus femoris and maximal isometric knee extension force. Data were recorded before the resistance exercise and on the two consecutive days. Pressure pain threshold at the central muscle belly was significantly reduced for the control group on both day 2 and 3 (p≤0.003) but not for the warm-up group (p≥0.21). For the cool-down group, pressure pain threshold at the central muscle belly was significantly reduced on day 2 (p≤0.005) and was also lower compared to the warm-up group (p=0.025). Force was significantly reduced on day 2 and 3 for all groups (p<0.001). This study indicates that aerobic warm-up exercise performed prior to resistance exercise may prevent muscle soreness at the central but not distal muscle regions, but it does not prevent loss of muscle force.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Alangari AS Al-Hazzaa HM. Normal isometric and isokinetic peak torques of hamstring and quadriceps muscles in young adult Saudi males. Neurosciences 2004; 9: 165-170

  • Armstrong RB Ogilvie RW Schwane JA. Eccentric exercise induced injury to rat skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 1983; 54: 80-93

  • Baker SJ Kelly NM Eston RG. Pressure pain tolerance at different sites on the quadriceps femoris prior to and following eccentric exercise. Eur J Pain 1997; 1: 229-233

  • Bijur PE Silver W Gallagher EJ. Reliability of the visual analog scale for measurement of acute pain. Acad Emerg Med 2001; 8: 1153-1157

  • Bishop D. Warm up II - Performance changes following active warm up and how to structure the warm up. Sports Med 2003; 33: 483-498

  • Cheung K Hume PA Maxwell L. Delayed onset muscle soreness: Treatment strategies and performance factors. Sports Med 2003; 33: 145-164

  • Ettema G Loras HW. Efficiency in cycling: A review. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009; 106: 1-14

  • Evans RK Knight KL Draper DO Parcell AC. Effects of warm-up before eccentric exercise on indirect markers of muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002; 34: 1892-1899

  • Fradkin AJ Gabbe BJ Cameron PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sport?: The evidence from randomised controlled trials? J Sci Med Sport 2006; 9: 214-220

  • Gulick DT Kimura IF Sitler M Paolone A Kelly JD. Various treatment techniques on signs and symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness. J Athl Training 1996; 31: 145-152

  • Hedayatpour N Falla D Arendt-Nielsen L Farina D. Sensory and electromyographic mapping during delayed-onset muscle soreness. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2008; 40: 326-334

  • Ingham SA van Someren KA Howatson G. Effect of a concentric warm-up exercise on eccentrically induced soreness and loss of function of the elbow flexor muscles. J Sports Sci 2010; 28: 1377-1382

  • Jones DH Kilgour RD Comtoist AS. Test-retest reliability of pressure pain threshold measurements of the upper limb and torso in young healthy women. J Pain 2007; 8: 650-656

  • Kennedy MD Haykowsky MJ Boliek CA Esch BTA Scott JM Warburton DER. Regional muscle oxygenation differences in vastus lateralis during different modes of incremental exercise. Dyn Med 2006; 5: 1-8

  • Kosek E Hansson P. Perceptual integration of intramuscular electrical stimulation in the focal and the referred pain area in healthy humans. Pain 2003; 105: 125-131

  • Law RYW Herbert RD. Warm-up reduces delayed-onset muscle soreness but cool-down does not: A randomised controlled trial. Aust J Physiother 2007; 53: 91-95

  • MacIntyre DL Reid WD Lyster DM Szasz IJ McKenzie DC. Presence of WBC decreased strength and delayed soreness in muscle after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 1996; 80: 1006-1013

  • Noonan TJ Best TM Seaber AV Garrett WE Andrish JT. Thermal effects on skeletal muscle tensile behavior. Am J Sports Med 1993; 21: 517-522

  • Paulsen G Crameri R Benestad HB Fjeld JG Morkrid L Hallen J Raastad T. Time course of leukocyte accumulation in human muscle after eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2010; 42: 75-85

  • Prasartwuth O Taylor JL Gandevia SC. Maximal force voluntary activation and muscle soreness after eccentric damage to human elbow flexor muscles. J Physiol (Lond) 2005; 567: 337-348

  • Proske U Morgan DL. Muscle damage from eccentric exercise: Mechanism mechanical signs adaptation and clinical applications. J Physiol (Lond) 2001; 537: 333-345

  • Safran MR Seaber AV Garrett WE. Warm-up and muscular injury prevention. An update. Sports Med 1989; 8: 239-249

  • Saltin B Gagge AP Stolwijk JA. Muscle temperature during submaximal exercise in man. J Appl Physiol 1968; 25: 679-688

  • Sjøgaard G. Capillary supply and cross-sectional area of slow and fast twitch muscle-fibers in man. Histochemistry 1982; 76: 547-555

  • Sole G Hamren J Milosavljevic S Nicholson H Sullivan SJ. Test-retest reliability of isokinetic knee extension and flexion. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2007; 88: 626-631

  • Takahashi J Ishihara K Aoki J. Effect of aqua exercise on recovery of lower limb muscles after downhill running. J Sports Sci 2006; 24: 835-842

  • Takahashi J Koga H Uchida T Ohnishi T Takaoka I. The effect of active rest after the soccer game on muscular strength and flexibility. J Health Spo Sci 2000; 4: 24-31

  • Takekura H Fujinami N Nishizawa T Ogasawara H Kasuga N. Eccentric exercise-induced morphological changes in the membrane systems involved in excitation-contraction coupling in rat skeletal muscle. J Physiol (Lond) 2001; 533: 571-583

  • Takizawa K Soma T Nosaka K Ishikawa T Ishii K. Effect of warm-up exercise on delayed-onset muscle soreness. Eur J Sport Sci 2011; 1-7

  • Thorstensson A Grimby G Karlsson J. Force-velocity relations and fiber composition in human knee extensor muscles. J Appl Physiol 1976; 40: 12-16

  • Travnik L Pernus F Erzen I. Histochemical and morphometric characteristics of the normal human vastus medialis longus and vastus medialis obliquus muscles. J Anat 1995; 187: 403-411

  • Warren GL Lowe DA Armstrong RB. Measurement tools used in the study of eccentric contraction-induced injury. Sports Med 1999; 27: 43-59

Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.414
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.858

CiteScore 2018: 1.60

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.644
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.941

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1849 913 30
PDF Downloads 857 472 6