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Fitness Q&A

Some Moves Cause Soreness

June 17, 2002|STEPHANIE OAKES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Question: Which type of muscle contractions cause muscle soreness?

CAROL KELLER

Blue Hill, Maine

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Answer: There are various types of contractions. A concentric contraction is when the muscle shortens as it overcomes resistance, such as in an upward curl with a weight. An eccentric contraction is when the muscle lengthens in opposition to gravity, such as in the lowering of the aforementioned weight. An isometric contraction is when one set of muscles is tensed to counter another set of muscles or when an object is too heavy to move even though muscle force is being applied.

Research has shown that eccentric muscle contractions and, to some extent, isometric contractions cause more soreness than concentric ones. To prevent muscle soreness always rest between workouts, stretch and cross-train.

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Stephanie Oakes is the fitness correspondent for Discovery Health Channel and a health/fitness consultant. Send questions by e-mail to stephoakes@aol.com. She cannot respond to every query.

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