The Effects of 3 vs. 5 Days of Training Cessation on Maximal Strength

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Travis, SK, Mujika, I, Zwetsloot, KA, Gentles, JA, Stone, MH, and Bazyler, CD. The effects of 3 vs. 5 days of training cessation on maximal strength. J Strength Cond Res 36(3): 633-640, 2022-The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 3 vs. 5 days of training cessation on body composition, perceived recovery and stress state, and maximal strength. Nineteen strength-trained athletes (23.8 ± 4.1 year; 90.8 ± 20.7 kg; 174.2 ± 7.3 cm) completed a powerlifting specific 4-week training block followed by either 3 or 5 days of training cessation. During the 4-week training block, athletes were trained 3 days per week, performing 3-4 movements that included at least 2-3 competition lifts per session while performing 4-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with intensity ranging from 75 to 100% 1 repetition maximum (1RM). Body composition, psychometric measures, upper-body maximal strength, and lower-body maximal strength were assessed before (T1) and after 4 weeks of training (T2) and at 3 or 5 days of training cessation (T3). The alpha level was set at p < 0.05. After the 4-week training block (T1 to T2), trivial significant increases in body mass (p = 0.016, Hedge's g = 0.04) and bench press 1RM (p = 0.01, g = 0.16) were observed, as well as small significant increases in back squat 1RM (p < 0.001, g = 0.23), deadlift 1RM (p = 0.003, g = 0.20), powerlifting total (p < 0.001, g = 0.21), and Wilks Score (p < 0.001, g = 0.27). There were no significant differences between groups for isometric back squat performance, psychometric measures, and body composition after training cessation (T2-T3). However, small significant decreases in isometric bench press performance were observed after 5 days (p < 0.001, g = 0.16), but not 3 days of training cessation. The results of this study suggest maximal lower-body strength can be preserved during 3 and 5 days of training cessation, but maximal upper-body strength is only preserved for 3 days after 4 weeks of strength training in athletes.