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Upper-Body Resistance Exercise Reduces Time to Recover After a High-Volume Bench Press Protocol in Resistance-Trained Men

Bartolomei, Sandro; Totti, Valentina; Griggio, Francesco; Malerba, Consuelo; Ciacci, Simone; Semprini, Gabriele; Di Michele, Rocco

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 04, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002960
Original Research: PDF Only

Bartolomei, S, Totti, V, Griggio, F, Malerba, C, Ciacci, S, Semprini, G, and Di Michele, R. Upper-body resistance exercise reduces time to recover after a high-volume bench press protocol in resistance-trained men. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2018—The aim of this study was to compare the effects of active and passive strategies on the recovery response after a high-volume bench press protocol. Twenty-five resistance-trained men (mean ± SD: age = 25.8 ± 3.6 years; body mass = 87.1 ± 12.1 kg; and height = 177.4 ± 4.9 cm) performed a high-volume bench press session (8 sets of 10 reps at 70% of 1 repetition maximum). Subsequently, they were randomly assigned to an active recovery (AR) group (n = 11) or to a passive recovery (PR) group (n = 14). Active recovery consisted of light bench press sessions performed 6 hours and 30 hours after the high-volume exercise protocol. Muscle performance (bench throw power [BTP] and isometric bench press [IBP]) and morphology (muscle thickness of pectoralis major [PECMT] and of triceps brachii [TRMT]) were measured before exercise (baseline [BL]), and at 15-minute (15P), 24-hour (24P), and 48-hour (48P) post-exercise. Post-exercise recovery of both maximal strength and power was accelerated in AR compared with PR. Both BTP and IBP were significantly (p < 0.001) reduced at 15P and 24P in PR, whereas changes were significant (p < 0.001) at 15P only in AR. PECMT was still significantly (p = 0.015) altered from BL at 48P in PR, whereas changes were significant (p < 0.001) at 15P only in AR. No significant interactions (p > 0.05) between PR and AR were detected for TRMT and muscle soreness. The present results indicate that AR enhances the recovery rate after high-volume exercise sessions and may be included in resistance training programs to optimize muscle adaptations.

Department of Neuromotor and Biomedical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Address correspondence to Sandro Bartolomei,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.