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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 12, pp 2387–2399 | Cite as

Time course of recovery following resistance training leading or not to failure

  • Ricardo Morán-Navarro
  • Carlos E. Pérez
  • Ricardo Mora-Rodríguez
  • Ernesto de la Cruz-Sánchez
  • Juan José González-Badillo
  • Luis Sánchez-Medina
  • Jesús G. PallarésEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

To describe the acute and delayed time course of recovery following resistance training (RT) protocols differing in the number of repetitions (R) performed in each set (S) out of the maximum possible number (P).

Methods

Ten resistance-trained men undertook three RT protocols [S × R(P)]: (1) 3 × 5(10), (2) 6 × 5(10), and (3) 3 × 10(10) in the bench press (BP) and full squat (SQ) exercises. Selected mechanical and biochemical variables were assessed at seven time points (from − 12 h to + 72 h post-exercise). Countermovement jump height (CMJ) and movement velocity against the load that elicited a 1 m s−1 mean propulsive velocity (V1) and 75% 1RM in the BP and SQ were used as mechanical indicators of neuromuscular performance.

Results

Training to muscle failure in each set [3 × 10(10)], even when compared to completing the same total exercise volume [6 × 5(10)], resulted in a significantly higher acute decline of CMJ and velocity against the V1 and 75% 1RM loads in both BP and SQ. In contrast, recovery from the 3 × 5(10) and 6 × 5(10) protocols was significantly faster between 24 and 48 h post-exercise compared to 3 × 10(10). Markers of acute (ammonia, growth hormone) and delayed (creatine kinase) fatigue showed a markedly different course of recovery between protocols, suggesting that training to failure slows down recovery up to 24–48 h post-exercise.

Conclusions

RT leading to failure considerably increases the time needed for the recovery of neuromuscular function and metabolic and hormonal homeostasis. Avoiding failure would allow athletes to be in a better neuromuscular condition to undertake a new training session or competition in a shorter period of time.

Keywords

Muscle strength Weight training Hormonal response Bench press Back squat 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

Basal AM

The same morning of the resistance training protocol at 8:00 h

Basal PM

The day before the resistance training protocol at 18:00 h

BP

Bench press

CK

Creatine kinase

CMJ

Countermovement jump

ES

Effect size

GH

Growth hormone

MPV

Mean propulsive velocity

Post 0 h

Immediately following each resistance training protocol (11:00 h)

Post 6 h

Same evening of resistance training, at 18:00 h

Post 24 h

24 h after the resistance training protocol

Post 48 h

48 h after the resistance training protocol

Post 72 h

72 h after the resistance training protocol

RT

Resistance training

SQ

Full back squat

SD

Standard deviation

T/C

Testosterone/cortisol ratio

V1 load

The load that elicited a ~ 1.00 m s−1 mean propulsive velocity

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Morán-Navarro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlos E. Pérez
    • 3
  • Ricardo Mora-Rodríguez
    • 2
  • Ernesto de la Cruz-Sánchez
    • 1
  • Juan José González-Badillo
    • 4
  • Luis Sánchez-Medina
    • 5
  • Jesús G. Pallarés
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Human Performance and Sports Science LaboratoryUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Exercise Physiology LaboratoryUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  3. 3.Sports Medicine CentreUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  4. 4.Faculty of SportPablo de Olavide UniversitySevilleSpain
  5. 5.Centre for Studies, Research & Sports MedicineGovernment of NavarrePamplonaSpain

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