Int J Sports Med 2016; 37(04): 295-304
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1564254
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Short-term Recovery Following Resistance Exercise Leading or not to Failure

How does manipulating the 'level of effort' impact post-exercise recovery? What are potential implications for optimizing athletic performance?
J. J. González-Badillo
1   Sports and Athletic Performance Research Centre. Faculty of Sport. Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
D. Rodríguez-Rosell
1   Sports and Athletic Performance Research Centre. Faculty of Sport. Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
L. Sánchez-Medina
2   Instituto Navarro de Deporte y Juventud (INDJ), Studies, Research and Sports Medicine Centre, Pamplona, Spain
J. Ribas
3   Medical Physiology and Biophysics Department. University of Seville, Spain
C. López-López
4   Junta de Andalucía, Centro Andaluz de Medicina del Deporte, Seville, Spain
R. Mora-Custodio
1   Sports and Athletic Performance Research Centre. Faculty of Sport. Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
J. M. Yañez-García
1   Sports and Athletic Performance Research Centre. Faculty of Sport. Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
F. Pareja-Blanco
1   Sports and Athletic Performance Research Centre. Faculty of Sport. Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 04 September 2015

Publication Date:
14 December 2015 (online)


This study analyzed the time course of recovery following 2 resistance exercise protocols differing in level of effort: maximum (to failure) vs. half-maximum number of repetitions per set. 9 males performed 3 sets of 4 vs. 8 repetitions with their 80% 1RM load, 3×4(8) vs. 3×8(8), in the bench press and squat. Several time-points from 24 h pre- to 48 h post-exercise were established to assess the mechanical (countermovement jump height, CMJ; velocity against the 1 m·s−1 load, V1-load), biochemical (testosterone, cortisol, GH, prolactin, IGF-1, CK) and heart rate variability (HRV) and complexity (HRC) response to exercise. 3×8(8) resulted in greater neuromuscular fatigue (higher reductions in repetition velocity and velocity against V1-load) than 3×4(8). CMJ remained reduced up to 48 h post-exercise following 3×8(8), whereas it was recovered after 6 h for 3×4(8). Significantly greater prolactin and IGF-1 levels were found for 3×8(8) vs. 3×4(8). Significant reductions in HRV and HRC were observed for 3×8(8) vs. 3×4(8) in the immediate recovery. Performing a half-maximum number of repetitions per set resulted in: 1) a stimulus of faster mean repetition velocities; 2) lower impairment of neuromuscular performance and faster recovery; 3) reduced hormonal response and muscle damage; and 4) lower reduction in HRV and HRC following exercise.

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