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Resistance Training–Induced Elevations in Muscular Strength in Trained Men Are Maintained After 2 Weeks of Detraining and Not Differentially Affected by Whey Protein Supplementation

Hwang, Paul S.; Andre, Thomas L.; McKinley-Barnard, Sarah K.; Morales Marroquín, Flor E.; Gann, Joshua J.; Song, Joon J.; Willoughby, Darryn S.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 869–881
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001807
Original Research

Hwang, PS, Andre, TL, McKinley-Barnard, SK, Morales Marroquín, FE, Gann, JJ, Song, JJ, and Willoughby, DS. Resistance training–induced elevations in muscular strength in trained men are maintained after 2 weeks of detraining and not differentially affected by whey protein supplementation. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 869–881, 2017—Resistance training (RT) with nutritional strategies incorporating whey protein intake postexercise can stimulate muscle protein synthesis and elicit hypertrophy. The early phases of training-induced anabolic responses can be attenuated with longer-term training. It is currently unknown if short-term detraining (DT) can restore these blunted anabolic responses during a subsequent retraining (ReT) period. Twenty resistance-trained men (age 20.95 ± 1.23 years; n = 20) were randomized into one of 2 groups (PRO or CHO; 25 g) in a double-blind manner. Participants followed a 4-day per week RT program (4-week RT; 2-week DT; 4-week ReT) while consuming their respective supplement only on workout days during RT and ReT, but every day during DT. At baseline, 4 weeks after RT (post-RT), 2 weeks after DT (post–2-week DT), and after 4 weeks of ReT after DT (post-ReT), leg press strength (LPS) was assessed and rectus femoris cross-sectional area and lean mass changes were assessed by ultrasonography and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, respectively. A factorial 2 × 4 (group by time) analyses of variance with repeated measures were used with a probability level at ≤0.05. LPS was elevated throughout the 10-week training study (p = 0.003) with no decrease in LPS after DT in both groups. Although not statistically significant, both groups retained lean mass after DT. A 2-week period of DT appeared to retain muscular strength in resistance-trained men. Therefore, a short-term period of DT can potentially retain lower-body strength in young resistance-trained men irrespective of supplementing with 25 g of whey protein postexercise.

1Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory, Baylor University, Waco, Texas;

2Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama; and

3Department of Statistical Science, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Address correspondence to Dr. Darryn S. Willoughby,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.