The necessary recovery time between training sessions depends largely on the type and quantity of work that was performed. Other factors such as training history and familiarity of the training session also matter. Novel training stimuli tend to make athletes more sore, despite reasonably low load and volume. Therefore, coaches need to be cognizant of what type of training they’re prescribing and how it may affect recovery status. This is especially important when timing of the training session falls in close proximity to competition. Having athlete’s feeling sore and weak come game time is certainly undesirable. Therefore, coaches need to have a good grasp on how various forms of training impact recovery time.
A new study published ahead of print in the European Journal of Applied Physiology compared the physiological responses from high volume training and high intensity training in highly trained individuals. Twelve adult males with an average of 6 years of resistance training experience performed both a workout comprised of 8 sets of 3 repetitions with a heavy load (high intensity) or 8 sets of 10 repetitions with a moderate load (high volume) in a randomized, counter-balanced order. The performance markers measured were counter-movement jump peak power, maximal voluntary isometric contraction in the leg extension, isometric mid-thigh pull and isometric squat. Additionally, endocrine, inflammatory and muscle damage markers were also obtained. Performance and blood samples were taken at baseline and again 30 min, 24, 48 and 72 hours post-training.
The results showed that 30 mins following the high volume session, significantly greater reductions in performance markers including counter-movement jump peak power and isometric leg extension were observed compared to following the high intensity session. Maximal voluntary isometric strength remained suppressed below baseline for 72 hours following the high volume session but not following the high intensity session. Muscle damage markers were elevated following both protocols. Cortisol and inflammatory markers were significantly elevated following high volume training only at the 30 min time-point post-exercise. The authors conclude that high volume resistance training results in greater performance decrements than high intensity resistance training. This finding supports previous studies demonstrating prolonged performance decrements following hypertrophy training. Therefore, coaches should be careful when prescribing high volume training sessions within 72 hours of game day.
Bartolomei, S., Sadres, E., Church, D. D., Arroyo, E., Gordon III, J. A., Varanoske, A. N., … & Hoffman, J. R. (2017). Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1-12.