Purpose: This study investigated the effects of ethanol consumption on recovery from traditional resistance exercise in recreationally trained individuals.
Methods: Nine recreationally trained volunteers (8 males, 1 female, 26+/-4 yrs., 81+/-4 kg) conducted four resistance exercise sessions and consumed a low (0.6 [females] and 0.7 [males] g/kg body mass) or a high (1.2 or 1.4 g/kg body mass) dose of ethanol 1-2.5 h after exercise on two occasions. The first session was for familiarization with the tests and exercises and was performed without ethanol consumption. As a control trial, alcohol-free drinks were consumed after the exercise session. The sequence of trials, with low and high ethanol doses and alcohol-free drinks (control), was randomized. Maximal voluntary contractions (MVC; knee-extension), electrically stimulated contractions (knee extension), squat jumps and hand-grip-strength were assessed 10-15 min and 12 and 24 h after the ethanol/placebo drinks. In addition to a baseline sample, blood was collected 1, 12 and 24 h after the ethanol/placebo drinks. The exercise session comprised 4x8 repetition maximum of squats, leg-presses, and knee-extensions.
Results: MVCs were reduced by 13-15% immediately after the exercise sessions (p<0.01). MVC, electrically stimulated force, and squat jump performance were recovered 24 hours after ethanol drinks. MVC was not fully recovered at 24 hours in the control trial. Compared to control, cortisol increased and the free testosterone:cortisol ratio were reduced after the high ethanol dose (p<0.01).
Conclusion: Neither a low nor a high dose of ethanol adversely affected recovery of muscle function after resistance exercise in recreationally strength trained individuals. However, the increased cortisol levels and reduced testosterone:cortisol ratio after the high ethanol dose could translate into long-term negative effects.
(C) 2014 American College of Sports Medicine