Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common response to activities involving lengthening contractions. Muscle inflammation is associated with DOMS and may play an integral role in protecting a muscle from damage and soreness in response to subsequent bouts of lengthening contractions. Research in animals has shown that prior exposure to passive stretching and isometric contractions of a muscle resulting in muscle inflammation attenuates the muscle inflammatory response following subsequent bouts of lengthening contractions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether passive stretching and isometric contractions in humans would reduce DOMS following a typical bout of resistance exercise. METHODS: Thirty untrained male subjects were assigned to a control (C), stretching (S) or isometric (I) contraction group (n=10/group). In the week prior to the typical resistance training bout subjects in S and I were exposed to 3 separate sessions involving 5 minutes of passive stretching or maximal isometric contractions, respectively. Passive and active soreness, thigh girth, and relaxed knee angle were assessed prior to intervention and on days 1, 2, 4, and 8 following the bout of resistance exercise. RESULTS: Passive and active muscle soreness increased similarly in all groups. However, active soreness returned higher values than passive soreness at several time points following resistance exercise. Peak soreness occurred at 48h post exercise. Thigh girth and relaxed knee angle reached their highest values at 5 minutes following resistance exercise however there were no differences between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that a typical bout of resistance exercise is sufficient to cause measurable levels of DOMS in untrained subjects and that subjects are more sensitive to active measures of DOMS compared to a passive assessment. Nevertheless the passive stretching and isometric contraction interventions did nothing to reduce DOMS in the current subjects.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





DOMS, isometric contraction, repeated bout effect, active stretching