Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Merrill Landers

First Committee Member

Jill Slaboda

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



Background/Purpose: Current research on strategies to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has focused on the effects of active and passive recovery on athletic performance across various sports, but there is little evidence regarding these recoveries at reducing DOMS induced by aerobic activities, such as running. In addition, there is limited research regarding the efficacy of recovery using electro-muscular stimulation (EMS). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of active and EMS recovery in decreasing DOMS. Subjects: Forty-eight healthy subjects (25 males and 23 females) between the ages of 20 and 40 (25.1 ± 2.9) participated. Methods: In this repeated measures design, each subject underwent two randomized testing periods, one for each of the recovery methods (active and EMS). Active recovery consisted of 15 minutes of brisk walking or submaximal jogging. EMS recovery consisted of 15 minutes of a biphasic symmetrical wave-form with a pulse width of 250 microseconds that started at 10Hz and then progressively decreased by 1 Hz every two minutes. Within each testing period, subjects were evaluated before and after a 1.5 mile run using blood lactate accumulation (BLA), visual analog scale for pain (VAS) on various muscle groups, pain pressure algometry (PPA) on the hamstrings, and sprint performance (40 yard dash). In addition, DOMS was assessed 48 hours later using the same outcomes. Results: There were no differences between recovery methods regarding BLA or VAS scores for the hamstrings or gastrocnemius/soleus. However, VAS scores for the quadriceps were different between the two recovery methods (p=.001), with more pain in the quadriceps after 48 hours in the EMS condition. There were no differences between recovery methods for PPA or sprint performance. Conclusions: EMS recovery was just as effective as active recovery across all outcomes, except for increased DOMS of the quadriceps in the EMS condition. Due to electrode placement on the hamstrings, the recovery in the quadriceps for the EMS condition was essentially passive. While active recovery and EMS recovery were comparable across all outcomes, EMS recovery occurs without the increased heart rate and energy expenditure associated with active recovery.


Active recovery; Aerobic exercises -- Physiological effect; Delayed-onset muscle soreness; Electro-muscular stimulation; Physical therapy; Sports medicine -- Technological innovations; Sports medicine -- Research; Sports physical therapy


Exercise Science | Medicine and Health Sciences | Sports Sciences

File Format


File Size

770 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




Thanks to UNLV Department of Physical Therapy; Jay Souza from the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, for allowing us to use the indoor track for countless hours; Courtney Warren for allowing us to use his equipment and advice; UNLV Kinesiology Department for letting us use their equipment.


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