We hypothesized that a bout of high or low volume eccentric exercise would protect against muscle damage following a subsequent high volume bout and that adaptation would be attributable to neural changes, independent of the initial exercise volume. Sixteen males performed either 45 (ECC45) or 10 (ECC10) maximal eccentric contractions using the elbow flexors, followed by an ECC45 bout 2 weeks later. Damage markers were measured for the following 96 h; EMG and work done during the first 10 eccentric contractions were also recorded. CK, soreness, and decrements in MVC and range of motion (ROM) were greater in bout 1 than bout 2 (p < 0.01). Soreness, MVC and ROM were greater after the initial ECC45 bout compared to the initial ECC10 bout and the repeated bouts of ECC45 exercise in both groups (p < 0.01). Median frequency decreased from bout 1 to bout 2 (p < 0.001), no differences between groups were observed. An ECC45 bout of maximal eccentric exercise causes more initial damage than an ECC10 bout of maximal eccentric exercise, although both confer protection from subsequent ECC45 bouts of maximal eccentric contractions, which are attributable, at least in part, to a shift in the frequency content of EMG.