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A Practical Approach to the Taper

Wilson, Jacob M MSc, CSCS1; Wilson, Gabriel J MSc, CSCS2

Strength and Conditioning Journal: April 2008 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 10-17
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3181636dd5
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TAPERING IS A TECHNIQUE OF SYSTEMATICALLY DECREASING TRAINING LOAD TO FACILITATE A PHYSIOLOGIC FITNESS PEAK. THE TAPER IS A COMPLEX TECHNIQUE BECAUSE LOAD CAN BE REDUCED THROUGH THE MANIPULATION OF NUMEROUS VARIABLES, SUCH AS TRAINING INTENSITY, VOLUME, DURATION, AND FREQUENCY. AN EXTENSIVE BODY OF RESEARCH HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO ANALYZING THE OPTIMAL COMBINATION OF THESE VARIABLES. THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE WAS TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN RESEARCH AND PRACTICE, AS IT PERTAINS TO THE TAPER.

1Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

2University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

Jacob Wilsonis a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Science at Florida State University and is President ofabcbodybuilding.com.

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Gabriel Wilsonis a doctoral student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois and is Vice President ofabcbodybuilding.com.

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INTRODUCTION

“Athletes who are driven to succeed or driven by others may not rest enough to satisfy the needs of their body. They are desperate to get better and improve and feel that time off may set them back in training. By failing to rest and enable the body to recover more fully, they gradually become more fatigued, and performance starts to slip. Initially, overtraining may occur in a bid to return their performance to its original standard, but staleness and burnout can be the end result” (8).

Athletes who experience persistent performance deficits despite 6 weeks of relative rest have been classified as overtrained (5). The prevalence of this phenomenon is shown by the statistic that 10% of endurance athletes appear to suffer from overtraining yearly (5). Although there is much cognitive dissonance in the field on markers of overtraining syndrome and proper treatments, the one consensus is that overtraining is partially the result of consistent increases in training load (8,9,17). Therefore, the need to decrease training load to treat and optimally prevent overtraining is clear. The question becomes how training load should be reduced.

One extreme end of the spectrum is to stop training altogether. However, results indicate that a temporary discontinuation of physical activity leads to detraining, defined as “the partial or complete loss of training induced anatomical, physiological, and performance adaptations” (21). In an extensive review, Mujika and Padilla (21) found that short term (<4 weeks) cessation of training resulted in a decrement in numerous performance parameters including an 8% to 13% decrease in knee extension force, a 13% decrease in swim power, a 20% decrease in muscle glycogen, a 3% to 14% decrease in o2max, a 4% to 25% decrease in endurance performance, and a decrease in insulin sensitivity, oxidative enzymes, and cross-sectional area, among other important markers of performance. Based on these findings, Zatsiorsky and Kraemer (31) proposed the law of continuous training as follows:

“Long breaks in training ruin physical fitness and athletic performance. De-adaptation inevitably takes place. Detraining occurs. After a prolonged period of inactivity, an athlete has to start from a decreased level of physical fitness. Time and effort are unnecessarily spent on recovering the pre break level of fitness…As in mountaineering, if you want to scale the summit of a high mountain, why get halfway up the mountain, go back down, and then climb the whole mountain?…The laws of physical training must be obeyed if one wants to be successful in sport. The need for continuous training is one such law.”

In contrast to taking time off, the maintenance of training intensity with a partial decrease in volume has led to an 8% to 9% increase in knee extension strength (18), a 5% to 25% increase in swim power (7,15,29), an 8% to 15% increase in muscle glycogen concentration (26), and a 6% increase in o2max (23). This technique of systematically decreasing training load to facilitate a physiologic fitness peak is known as the taper.

The taper is a complex procedure because load can be reduced through the manipulation of numerous variables, such as training intensity, volume, duration, and frequency. An extensive body of research has been dedicated to investigating the optimal combination of these variables. The purpose of this article is to bridge the gap between research and practice, as it pertains to the taper. This article covers the theoretical basis, expected benefits, and optimal exercise prescription for inexperienced and experienced anaerobic and aerobic athletes and provides practical applications for the taper. An anaerobic activity can be defined as a short-term (<5 minutes) maximal or supramaximal intensity event that primarily relies on the anaerobic energy pathways (i.e., ATP-CP and glycolysis) (4). An aerobic activity can be defined as a long-term (>30 minutes) submaximal intensity event that primarily relies on the aerobic energy pathways (i.e., oxidative phosphorylation) (4). The emphasis of this article is on peripheral factors, such as changes in body composition and muscle tissue energetics, whereas central and neuromuscular factors, such as changes in recruitment patterns, are discussed only briefly. For this article, inexperienced individuals were defined as having less than 1 year of training experience, and experienced individuals had more than 1 year of training experience.

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PHYSIOLOGIC BASIS OF THE TAPER

Banister et al. (2) provided a 2-factor mathematical theory on human performance. Their theory suggested that an athlete should be viewed as a system that receives input in the form of a training impulse and produces output in the form of performance. For strength training, the impulse is calculated by the weight lifted multiplied by the number of reps the exercise is performed (e.g., total work done). The model suggests that the training impulse leads to the build up of fitness and fatigue in the athlete and that performance is a result of the difference between these 2 variables (2). An example of a fitness gain would be an increased capacity to recruit motor units, whereas an example of fatigue would be increased muscular damage. The model is useful because it causes athletes, coaches, and scientists to acknowledge that stress can cause increases in fatigue and fitness simultaneously, rather than just a simple cause-and-effect relationship as proposed by other popular models, such as the basic supercompensation model. For an in-depth discussion, see Chiu et al. (6).

Briefly, the basic supercompensation model suggests that a fatiguing stimulus initially lowers an athlete's preparedness, which triggers the body to supercompensate by increasing physiologic parameters above pretraining values. For example, depletion of muscle glycogen has been shown to lead to increased storage of muscle glycogen when adequate carbohydrates are provided. Conversely, in the fitness and fatigue model, fatigue and fitness are simultaneously present. Although fatigue is generally thought to have a higher initial effect on the athlete than fitness is, gains in fitness have greater stability and therefore last longer than fatigue does (6). For example, fatigue may lead to an initial 4% decrement in 1-repetition maximum performance after a weight-training session. In a few days, when the fatigue has dissipated, the more stable, but lower magnitude fitness effects may allow for 1% to 2% greater lifting performance than initial values. However, after weeks of training, fatigue may accumulate to the point that further training will contribute more to fatigue before an event than to fitness, leading to a plateau or decrement in performance (3). Thus, a period in which the training impulse is lowered is needed before competition so that the underlying fitness can be truly revealed.

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EXPECTED PERFORMANCE GAINS

The ultimate goal of the taper is to maximize performance and numerous underlying variables that affect performance. Studies on tapering have been replicated across a wide range of sports and activities, including cycling (18), running (21), weightlifting (19), triathlon (3), and swimming (7,15). Based on the literature, an athlete can expect the following physiologic changes and performance gains after a taper (16,23,24,30):

  • 5–6% improvements in criterion competition performance gains.
  • Up to 20% increases in power, neuromuscular function, and strength.
  • 10–25% increases in cross-sectional area of muscle tissue.
  • 1–9% improvements in o2max.
  • Up to an 8% increase in running economy.
  • Changes in resting, submaximal, and maximal heart rate and in blood pressure are unclear after a taper, but generally remain unchanged.
  • Up to a 15% increase in erythrocyte volume.
  • Up to a 70% decrease in muscle damage after a workout, as indicated by creatine kinase concentrations.
  • Serum testosterone, an indicator of anabolism, may increase by 5%, with a corresponding 5% decrease in catabolic hormone cortisol.
  • Catecholamines, a marker of stress and overtraining, may be reduced by up to 20%.
  • A 10% increase in anti-inflammatory immune cells, with a concomitant decrease in inflammatory cytokines.
  • Tapering also facilitates positive affective mood states. Results indicate that tapering can reduce the rate of perceived exertion, depression, anger, and anxiety and increase vigor.
  • Tapering appears to lower sleep disturbances, as indicated by a 40% decrease in movements during sleep after a taper.

In addition to these physiologic and psychological changes, the taper has also been shown to affect muscle glycogen and body fat stores. However, these effects depend on diet. Reducing training volume while maintaining caloric intake may result in a slight increase in body fat. Therefore, athletes who are concerned with body composition may slightly decrease caloric intake when tapering. Muscle glycogen stores have been found to increase proportionally with the duration and volume reduction of the taper. The increase can range from 17% to 34%. This value may increase by 15% if carbohydrates are increased during the taper (i.e., from 48% to 78% of caloric intake). Therefore, athletes concerned with peak performance after the taper should load with carbohydrates during the taper.

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HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE TAPER OPTIMALLY

Variables that can be manipulated during the taper include training intensity, frequency, volume, duration, and the type of taper performed.

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Intensity

Intensity is defined as a percentage of a maximal performance. Examples of maximal intensities include 1-repetition maximum in weight training, and the o2max, and heart rate in endurance events. Research indicates that reducing intensity results in a decrease in performance for aerobic and anaerobic activities independent of training experience (12,23,26,28). For instance, Hickson et al. (12) found that a 30% to 60% decrease in intensity during a 15-week taper decreased anaerobic and aerobic performance by 20% to 30% and o2 peak by 7% to 10%. Conversely, Shepley et al. (26) found that a 20% increase in training intensity, while lowering running from 80 to 10-km during a 1-week taper, resulted in a 22% increase in running time and a 15% increase in muscle glycogen concentrations in trained middle-distance runners. Collectively, results suggest that anaerobic and aerobic athletes should maintain or slightly increase training intensity during the taper.

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Volume and duration

Volume is defined as total work done and is estimated in weight training by the product of sets and reps (1). When the objective task requires the participant to carry his or her own body over long distances, such as in swimming, bicycling, or running, volume can be determined by the distance covered or the duration of the activity. Studies indicate that optimal volume reductions during the taper depend on the previous training load, duration of the taper, and experience of the athlete.

An extensive review in primarily experienced athletes by Mujika and Padilla (23) found benefits from lowering volume, ranging from 50% to 70% for anaerobic events (22,29) and 50% to 90% for aerobic events (18,25). A recent simulated model by Thomas and Busso (28) in untrained endurance participants found that optimal volume reductions should range from 30% to 40%. Thomas et al. (28) suggested that the difference between their findings and those of Mujika et al. (23) may be attributed to the capacity of trained athletes to sustain greater training loads and therefore accumulate more fatigue than untrained individuals. This contention was supported by Thomas et al., who found that 15 weeks of training followed by a brief overreaching cycle in which training was increased by 20% resulted in 10% greater reductions in volume to optimize the taper than 15 weeks of normal training. Similarly, greater volume reductions become necessary when previous training durations are longer. For example, a study examining 30%, 50%, and 75% reductions in volume during the taper found that the 50% reduction was optimal after 3 weeks of training in male cyclists (25). However, a 1-week taper after 15 weeks of training in middle-distance runners found that an 85% reduction in volume resulted in significant decreases in submaximal oxygen consumption, 5-km running time, and calculated energy expenditure (13).

Whether training experience has an effect on anaerobic activities is relatively unknown. However, we propose the possibility of a minimal threshold of training volume, which is necessary to maintain or improve performance. For instance, an experienced and inexperienced weight trainee may perform 30 and 10 sets, respectively, for knee flexion and extension exercises per week. In such a case, a reduction in volume by 70% would still allow experienced athletes to perform 9 sets of thigh exercises per week. However, a 70% reduction in volume for inexperienced athletes would result in only 3 sets of thigh exercises per week, which may not be enough total volume to maintain adaptations.

The optimal duration for the taper depends on volume reduction and previous training loads. The tapering studies reviewed by Mujika et al. (23) found results ranging from 1 to 4 weeks in duration for anaerobic and aerobic activities; however, most studies lasted fewer than 15 days. Thomas et al. (28) found that in inexperienced endurance athletes, the optimal duration of the taper was 20 and 30 days for normal training and overreaching, respectively. Thomas et al. (28) suggested that if a taper is performed for fewer than 20 to 30 days, training volume should be reduced to a greater extent than the recommended optimal volume of 30% to 40%. With tapers 1 to 2 weeks in duration, volume can be reduced by 70% and 90% for inexperienced and experienced endurance athletes, respectively.

Clearly, determining the optimal volume and duration of the taper is a challenging task, and recommendations cannot be given with extreme precision. However, based on current research, we offer the following general guidelines for experienced aerobic and anaerobic athletes:

  • For minimal fatigue (i.e., <4 weeks of normal training), the taper should range from 7 to 10 days in duration, with a 50% reduction in training volume.
  • For moderate fatigue (i.e., >3 months of normal training), the taper should last 10 to 20 days and reduce volume by 60% to 75%.
  • For extreme fatigue (i.e., after an overreaching training cycle), the taper should last 14 to 28 days and reduce volume by 60% to 90%.

Based on the research of Thomas et al. (28), we offer the following general guidelines for inexperienced endurance athletes:

  • For minimal fatigue (i.e., <4 weeks of normal training), the taper should range from 7 to 10 days in duration, with a 30% reduction in training volume.
  • For moderate fatigue (i.e., >15 weeks of normal training), the taper should last 20 days and reduce volume by 30%.
  • For extreme fatigue (i.e., after an overreaching training cycle), the taper should last 30 days and reduce volume by 40%.

Research on inexperienced anaerobic athletes is currently lacking, and therefore, no firm recommendation can be given.

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Frequency

Training frequency can be defined as the total number of training sessions performed for a given skill, task, or body part in a given period. The time measured is typically a week (18). Research for aerobic events indicates that training frequency can enhance performance when lowered from 20% to 50% in minimally to moderately trained individuals (23). However, in 1 study, the maintenance of frequency in highly trained endurance individuals resulted in improved performance after a taper, whereas lowering frequency by 30% resulted in no changes in performance (20).

Currently, no studies have investigated the effects of lowering training frequency on anaerobic performance. It is thought that any benefit derived from lowering training frequency occurs through volume reductions (20). However, studies in the anaerobic domain suggest that volume may be optimized at higher training frequencies. This suggestion is strongly supported by studies that have examined training or practice scheduling on strength, power, and skill acquisition. For example, Häkkinen and Kallinen (11) investigated the effects of volume distribution on neuromuscular adaptations in 10 elite strength athletes. With volume held constant, participants increased strength and muscle cross-sectional area when their volume was divided into 2 daily sessions, rather than a single session. In contrast, no changes in performance or cross-sectional area were found when all sets were performed in a single training session. In another study, 3 sets of resistance training divided over 3 days resulted in 38% greater increases in strength than performing the same 3 sets in a single training session (19). These findings suggest that distributing volume into smaller, more frequent units may create optimal conditions for muscular hypertrophy and neurologic adaptations critical for anaerobic events. One theoretical rationale is that higher frequencies maintain the feel of technical skills (19) and facilitate possible increases in fitness and ultimately performance during a period of lowered training load.

Based on this research, it is recommended that inexperienced endurance athletes should maintain or slightly lower training frequency during the taper (≤20%) (23), whereas experienced aerobic athletes and inexperienced and experienced anaerobic athletes should maintain training frequency during the taper.

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Type of taper

A final variable to consider is the format in which the taper is used. Typically, 3 tapering formats have been used in the literature. The first is known as a step taper and involves a complete and immediate decrease in training volume (e.g., decreasing volume by 50% on the first day of the taper and maintaining this throughout the duration of the taper). The final 2 formats are progressive in nature and include linear and exponential decreases in volume. A linear taper involves decreasing volume in a progressive, linear fashion (i.e., by 5% of initial values every workout). Lastly, the exponential taper can be used, in which volume decreases at a rate proportional to its current value in a nonlinear fashion.

Consider the illustration of an athlete whose volume has a half-life of 2 days. This simply means that every 2 days, the individual's volume will have decreased by half. For instance, if a group of distance runners originally ran 12 miles per day at the start of a taper, 48 hours later, they would reduce the volume to 6 miles. Two days later, the 6 miles would again be decreased by half, meaning that they would run 3 miles total. The key factor is that volume reduction occurred relative to the value of the remaining volume on the day examined, as opposed to a percentage of the original value, as it occurs in a linear taper. Lastly, exponential tapers can be incorporated with a relatively fast or slow decay rate.

The literature on the optimal taper format is limited. Banister et al. (3) first examined the optimal taper format for aerobic and anaerobic events, with a group of 11 Ironman triathletes. The experiment lasted 94 days and consisted of a bout of rigorous training for 31 days, followed by a 2-week taper, followed by another bout of rigorous training for 33 days, followed by another 2-week taper. The criterion tests were 5-km running performance and power. Participants in the first taper were divided into 2 groups; group 1 performed a step taper with a 22% reduction in volume, and group 2 performed an exponential taper with a half-life of 3.5 days and a 31% reduction in volume. Using an exponential taper decreased the 5-km criterion running time by 4% and increased the maximal ramp power by 5% above baseline. The step taper did not affect the 5-km running time, but increased the power by 1%.

Participants in the second taper were also divided into 2 groups: a fast exponential decay taper (i.e., half life of 2.8 days) and a slow exponential decay taper (i.e., half life of 5.5 days). Volume reductions throughout the taper were 65% and 50% for the fast and slow exponential decay conditions, respectively. Using a slow exponential taper decreased the 5-km running time by 2.4% and increased the maximal ramp power by 3.6% above baseline. The fast exponential decay taper decreased the 5-km running time by 6.3% and increased the power by 7%. These results indicated that an exponential taper results in greater power than a step taper does and that a fast decay taper increases power to a greater extent than a slow decay taper does. Similar trends were seen for decreases in the 5-km running time; however, intergroup differences for the 5-km running times were not significant.

The confounding variable in these results is volume. The exponential taper performed 30% less volume than the step taper, and the fast exponential taper performed 24% less volume than the slow exponential taper. Although these differences were not statistically significant, with a larger sample size, they would have quickly reached significance. Therefore, it may be that lower volume, rather than the format of the taper, at least partially contributed to the greater power and faster running times.

The previously mentioned simulated experiment by Thomas et al. (28) also examined the optimal tapering format for inexperienced endurance athletes. This study compared step to progressive linear tapers and optimal decay for exponential tapers. There were no differences between step and progressive tapers with normal training. However, a linear slow decay taper resulted in 1% greater performance gains than a step taper after participants had overreached. Unfortunately, a linear slow decay taper also required longer optimal taper duration (i.e., 48 days) than a step taper (i.e., 30 days). This longer duration of tapering, for a 1% greater improvement in performance, may be impractical. For instance, instead of tapering longer, the athlete may have begun a normal training routine again and perhaps obtained greater performance gains during the same period. In contrast to the results of Banister et al. (3), Thomas et al. (28) found that a slow exponential taper optimized performance relative to a fast exponential taper. Again, it is noteworthy that the simulated model analyzed the optimal taper type relative to optimal duration, which was 1 ½ months in their study. In the study by Banister et al. (3), the taper lasted 2 weeks, which may have required a faster decay to lower volume to a threshold necessary to dissipate fatigue.

Further concerns when using the results of Banister et al. (3) and Thomas et al. (28) to find the optimal taper type include the volume before the taper and the experience level of the athletes examined. Before the taper in the study by Banister et al. (3), participants were involved in a rigorous training regimen that could have been considered overreaching. If their volume had been lower, the outcomes on the optimal taper may have differed. Lastly, Thomas et al. (28) examined inexperienced athletes, and Banister et al. (3) examined experienced triathletes. This difference makes it difficult to compare the findings of these studies.

With the lack of research in this area and the possible confounding variable of training volume, we cannot give a clear recommendation to athletes in regard to the optimal format for tapering. Instead, athletes must make an educated decision based on the evidence presented herein. For now, we recommend that athletes strongly consider volume reductions when deciding which type of taper to use and to factor these reductions relative to the overall duration planned for the taper. For example, an athlete should have a relatively larger decrease in volume through step reduction if the taper is to last for shorter periods, with correspondingly smaller decreases over longer durations. Similarly, athletes may optimize progressive reductions in volume (linear or exponential) with slow decays over longer durations and fast decays over short duration tapers.

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PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

This article began by discussing the law of continuous training proposed by Zatsiorsky and Kraemer (31). This law suggests that long breaks result in detraining. Evidence shown in this article supports this law and indicates that tapering is a superior method to the complete discontinuation of training. Tapering is a technique of systematically decreasing training load to facilitate a physiologic fitness peak. The taper is a complex technique because load can be reduced through the manipulation of numerous variables, such as intensity, volume, duration, and frequency. An extensive body of research has been dedicated to analyzing the optimal combination of these variables. The findings of this article indicate that a taper should be implemented in the following fashion:

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Optimal intensity

  • Aerobic and anaerobic athletes should maintain or slightly increase training intensity during the taper, regardless of training experience.
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Optimal volume and duration for experienced aerobic and anaerobic athletes

  • For minimal fatigue (i.e., <4 weeks of normal training), the taper should range from 7 to 10 days in duration, with a 50% reduction in training volume.
  • For moderate fatigue (i.e., >3 months of normal training), the taper should last 10 to 20 days and reduce volume by 60% to 75%.
  • For extreme fatigue (i.e., after an overreaching training cycle), the taper should last 14 to 28 days and reduce volume by 60% to 90%.
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Optimal volume and duration for inexperienced aerobic athletes

  • For minimal fatigue (i.e., <4 weeks of normal training), the taper should range from 7 to 10 days in duration, with a 30% reduction in training volume.
  • For moderate fatigue (i.e., >15 weeks of normal training), the taper should last 20 days and reduce volume by 30%.
  • For extreme fatigue (i.e., after an overreaching training cycle), the taper should last 30 days and reduce volume by 40%.
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Optimal volume and duration for inexperienced anaerobic athletes

  • Research on inexperienced anaerobic athletes is currently lacking, and therefore, no firm recommendation can be given.
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Optimal frequency

  • Inexperienced aerobic athletes should maintain or slightly decrease training frequency during the taper (≤20%).
  • Experienced aerobic and experienced and inexperienced anaerobic athletes should maintain training frequency.
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Optimal type of taper

  • With the lack of research in this area and the possible confounding variable of training volume, we cannot give a clear recommendation to athletes in regard to the optimal format for tapering. Instead, athletes must make an educated decision based on the evidence presented in this article. What we do recommend is that athletes strongly consider absolute volume reductions relative to total taper duration regardless of the type of taper used. The longer the taper duration is, the slower the reduction in volume should be, and vice versa.
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Diet

  • Reducing training volume while maintaining caloric intake may result in a slight increase in body fat. Therefore, athletes who are concerned with body composition may slightly decrease caloric intake when tapering.
  • Tapering results in glycogen supercompensation; this process is facilitated by increasing carbohydrate intake. Therefore, athletes concerned with peak performance after the taper should load with carbohydrates during the taper. For in-depth reviews on optimal carbohydrate loading techniques, refer to Ivy (14) and Sherman (27).
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When to implement the taper

The taper has often been suggested as a precompetition strategy, but we propose that it should be implemented under a number of additional scenarios.

  • Overtraining: If an athlete experiences signs of overtraining, such as burnout, a taper should be performed.
  • Periodization: A proper periodized split should program periods of tapering into training cycles to avoid overtraining and staleness. For an in-depth analysis on periodization, refer to Haff (10).
  • Before competition: Before a contest, to maximize performance, a taper should be performed.
  • Maintenance: If an athlete wants to maintain a skill that he or she considers a strong point, while prioritizing weaknesses with greater training volumes, he or she may implement the methods of tapering on the skill that must be maintained. If the athlete wants to take a break from normal rigorous training, he or she can implement the strategies of tapering for his or her entire program. Even if an athlete cannot maintain the optimal tapering prescription prescribed in this article, by doing his or her best to visit the gym whenever he or she can, while training with high intensity during the sessions, he or she will still maintain adaptations to a greater extent than complete discontinuation of training.

A summary of these practical applications can be found in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1

Table 1

Table 2

Table 2

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Implications for future research

The research in the area of tapering has excelled, and we give our highest complements to all who have contributed to this body of knowledge. We offer the following suggestions for future research in the study of tapering:

  • More studies are needed on the optimal taper format (i.e., step, linear, or exponential). Researchers should be careful to control for possible confounding variables, such as volume. More research is needed in this area with experienced and inexperienced athletes. It should be considered that perhaps a combination of tapering formats may optimize results. For instance, in the case of reducing volume to a large extent (i.e., 75%), it may be optimal to begin with a step taper, immediately reduce volume by 30%, and then gradually decrease volume in an exponential or linear fashion, until the desired volume reduction is reached.
  • The simulated model study of untrained aerobic participants by Thomas et al. (28) should be replicated in trained aerobic participants and in trained and untrained anaerobic athletes.
  • Research should continue to study the optimal volume and duration of a taper for athletes under various scenarios.
  • Current research indicates greater results during a taper when training intensity is maintained or increased. However, the two have not been compared in a single study. Future research should examine this question. □
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30. Wittig, A, Houmard, J, and Costill, D. Psychological effects during reduced training in distance runners. Int J Sports Med 13: 497–499, 1989.
31. Zatsiorsky VM and Kraemer, WJ. Science and Practice of Strength Training (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006, p. 106.
Table

Table

Keywords:

taper; training; reduced training; detraining; performance

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