Intensive physical exercise may cause muscular injury and increase oxidative stress. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an antioxidant, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), on muscular injury and oxidative stress during exercise training. Eighteen male students, all elite Japanese kendo athletes, were randomly assigned to either a CoQ10 group (n 10) or a placebo group (n 8) in a double-blind manner. Subjects in the CoQ10 group took 300 mg CoQ10 per d for 20 d, while subjects in the placebo group took the same dosage of a placebo. All subjects practised kendo 5·5 h per d for 6 d during the experimental period. Blood samples were taken 2 weeks before, during (1 d, 3 d, 5 d) and 1 week after the training. Serum creatine kinase (CK) activity and myoglobin (Mb) concentration significantly increased in both groups (at 3 d and 5 d). Serum CK (at 3 d), Mb (at 3 d) and lipid peroxide (at 3 d and 5 d) of the CoQ10 group were lower than those of the placebo group. The leucocyte counts in the placebo group significantly increased (at 3 d) and neutrophils significantly increased in both groups (at 3 d and 5 d). Serum scavenging activity against superoxide anion did not change in either group. These results indicate that CoQ10 supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscular injury in athletes.