Endurance exercise training promotes a small but significant increase in antioxidant enzyme activity in the costal diaphragm (DIA) of rodents. It is unclear if these training-induced improvements in muscle antioxidant capacity are large enough to reduce oxidative stress during prolonged contractile activity. To test the hypothesis that training-related increases in DIA antioxidant capacity reduces contraction-induced lipid peroxidation. we exercise trained adult female Sprague-Dawley (n = 7) rats on a motor-driven treadmill for 12 weeks at approximate to 75% maximal O-2 consumption (90 min/day). Control animals (n = 8) remained sedentary during the same 12-week period. After training, DIA strips from animals in both experimental groups were excised and subjected to an in vitro fatigue contractile protocol in which the muscle was stimulated for 60 min at a frequency of 30 Hz, every 2 s with a train duration of 330 m. Compared to the controls, endurance training resulted in an increase (P < 0.05) in diaphragmatic non-protein thiols and in the activity of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Following. the contractile protocol, lipid peroxidation was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the trained DIA compared to the controls. These data support the hypothesis that endurance exercise training-induced increases in DIA antioxidant capacity protect the muscle against contractile-related oxidative stress.