Adam J. Sterczala1, Andrew C. Fry1, Loren Z.F. Chiu2, Brian K. Schilling3 & Lawrence W. Weiss3 FACSM

1University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2University of Alberta, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 3University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

Overreaching is a lesser form of overtraining, which results in similar performance decrements, but a shorter recovery time. Resistance exercise overreaching protocols have routinely demonstrated performance decrements, however the effects on hormonal measures have differed, depending on the protocol used. PURPOSE: To determine the effects of a high power, high volume, moderate intensity resistance exercise protocol on performance and hormonal measures. METHODS: Seventeen resistance-trained men (n=17; X±SD; age=22.8±3.3 yrs), were assigned to three groups, control (CON, n=6), overreaching-supplement (SUP, n=8) and overreaching-placebo (PL: n=3) as part of a larger study evaluating the effects of a nutritional supplement on overreaching. All subjects completed four resistance exercise bouts consisting three sets of five repetitions of speed squats using 70% 1RM. In the third week, the CON trained twice more with the same protocol, while SUP and PL trained twice per day for 7.5 days, performing ten sets of five repetitions using 70% 1RM. Subjects were instructed to perform all repetitions with maximal velocity. Blood samples were taken at baseline (T1), before the third week (T2), after the third week (T4) and following a one-week recovery period (T4). Commercially available ELISAs were used to measure serum testosterone and cortisol concentrations. A barbell-attached dynamometer was used to determine back squat mean power and barbell velocity at 70% 1RM. RESULTS: CON demonstrated no changes in mean back squat power or velocity at any time point. In contrast, significant differences in barbell velocity and power were observed in SUP and PL at T3. Performance measures returned to T1 values by T4. Despite these performance decrements, no significant changes were observed in testosterone, cortisol or the testosterone/cortisol ratio. Aside from attenuated performance, changes in nocturnal catecholamine release, β2 adrenergic receptor content, and psychological variables suggest that subjects in the SUP and PL groups experienced overreaching. CONCLUSION: The overreached subjects demonstrated significant performance decrements in the absence of hormonal changes. Consequently, the results of this investigation suggest that testosterone, cortisol and the testosterone/cortisol ratio may not be valid measures for diagnosis of resistance exercise overreaching.

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