Mixed muscle protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR) and fractional breakdown rate (FBR) were examined after an isolated bout of either concentric or eccentric resistance exercise. Subjects were eight untrained volunteers (4 males, 4 females). Mixed muscle protein FSR and FBR were determined using primed constant infusions of [2H5]phenylalanine and 15N-phenylalanine, respectively. Subjects were studied in the fasted state on four occasions: at rest and 3, 24, and 48 h after a resistance exercise bout. Exercise was eight sets of eight concentric or eccentric repetitions at 80% of each subject's concentric 1 repetition maximum. There was no significant difference between contraction types for either FSR, FBR, or net balance (FSR minus FBR). Exercise resulted in significant increases above rest in muscle FSR at all times: 3 h = 112%, 24 h = 65%, 48 h = 34% (P < 0.01). Muscle FBR was also increased by exercise at 3 h (31%; P < 0.05) and 24 h (18%; P < 0.05) postexercise but returned to resting levels by 48 h. Muscle net balance was significantly increased after exercise at all time points [(in %/h) rest = -0.0573 +/- 0.003 (SE), 3 h = -0.0298 +/- 0.003, 24 h = -0.0413 +/- 0.004, and 48 h = -0.0440 +/- 0.005], and was significantly different from zero at all time points (P < 0.05). There was also a significant correlation between FSR and FBR (r = 0.88, P < 0.001). We conclude that exercise resulted in an increase in muscle net protein balance that persisted for up to 48 h after the exercise bout and was unrelated to the type of muscle contraction performed.