End of Season Break – Detraining Effect

This Blog is a summary of part of the new Coaching section and the page covering –Training Reversibility – an in-depth review of the science that happens when we detrain.
Will I look like I skip leg day?

It’s the end of the season and the coach says ‘ok, see you in 3 weeks’ or you just got injured and the physio says ‘you can’t train for 4 weeks’ or the partner says ‘we are going on holiday and no! you can not train for the week!’
Its ok relax, I know if you’re like me then those scenarios put the fear of god in you and raised your heart rate way too high! But these things happen in the good old grand scheme of life. Even more so for Master Athletes trying to compete out on the track, with our ever growing responsibilities and of course niggles!
But what are the issues with taking time off for what ever reason?
Below are a few tables that I hope can add some clarity into this very matter.
The benefits of taking time off are of course crucial to understand and believe in! This of course forms part of the concept of super compensation when it comes to stress and adaptation from training! So this part should be straight forward.

Benefits of Time Off

Of course then comes what everyone dreads the Training reversibility effect of doing nothing! Its important to note that the table below is showing the result of compete inactivity and we all know, as athletes we are never going to do completely nothing! But a very interesting table to look at sees the body ‘detrains’ at different stages of fitness

<Training Reversibility Inactivity

So another way to put the above table is this format which covers an entire 4 week period!


But like I said and I think we would all agree, we are unlikely to do nothing (even when injured) so what are the minimal requirements in order to maintain as much gains as possible.
The table below give these requirements and as you can see, its not really a lot of things to do in order to keep those levels of attained fitness.

<maintaining Gains

Its clear that, in reality we should take time off from time to let the body fully recover and never really get those repetitive strains. And just enjoy our end of season break!
Go and read the full coaching page on Training Reversibility for a full breakdown of what happens.
And of course go read, how long it takes for training to affect the body