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To examine the contralateral repeated bout effect (CL-RBE) on muscle damage markers and motor unit (MU) control strategies, seventeen healthy adults performed two bouts of 60 eccentric contractions with elbow flexor (EF group; n ​= ​9) or index finger abductor (IA group; n ​= ​8) muscles, separated by 1 week. All participants randomly performed eccentric exercise on either the right or left arm or hand muscles, and muscle damage markers and submaximal trapezoid contraction tests were conducted pre, post, 1- and 2-day post eccentric protocol. One week after the first bout, the same exercise protocol and measurements were performed on the contralateral muscles. Surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were collected from biceps brachii (BB) or first dorsal interosseous (FDI) during maximal and submaximal tests. The linear regression analyses were used to examine MU recruitment threshold versus mean firing rate and recruitment threshold versus derecruitment threshold relationships. EMG amplitude from BB (bout 1 vs. bout 2 ​= ​65.71% ​± ​22.92% vs. 43.05% ​± ​18.97%, p ​= ​0.015, d ​= ​1.077) and the y-intercept (group merged) from the MU recruitment threshold versus derecruitment threshold relationship (bout 1 vs. bout 2 ​= ​−7.10 ​± ​14.20 vs. 0.73 ​± ​16.24, p ​= ​0.029, d ​= ​0.513) at 50% MVIC were significantly different between two bouts. However, other muscle damage markers did not show any CL-RBE in both muscle groups. Therefore, despite changes in muscle excitation and MU firing behavior, our results do not support the existence of CL-RBE on BB and FDI muscles.

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