Detraining Timeframes

As with every other team in the MLS, we recently finished an 8-10 day break in our league schedule. Different teams handle this in different ways but many give their players and coaches some much needed time off. This is what we did. After a grueling schedule of league and Canadian Cup games in May, we all took an extended and much needed break. This is the perfect time to catch up on rest and recover physically from travel stress, injuries and overtraining syndromes. It’s also the perfect time to catch up on life (we even had one player get married and another engaged!).

But the reality is that it’s also likely to come with some detraining. Detraining is when gains from prior training occur as a result of reductions or cessation of volume, intensity, frequency of particular stimulus type. With this, one has to way the pros with the cons and what level of detraining you’re willing to accept for the accompanying positive effects of physical and mental rejuvenation. Likewise, you need to understand that the decay of physical capacities are not all the same. Strength can be maintained quite well with little to no stimulus for relatively long periods of time as long as maintenance stimuli are provided. Aerobic capacities however can see drop-offs almost immediately. Because the ‘half -lives’ of each biomotor ability differs and there are also differing windows for recovery and adaptation, understanding the timeframes associated with detraining can and should dictate frequency of the application of a given training stimulus. For a detailed timeline on detraining time frames check out this prior blog entry (note that the times are for complete cessation of training).

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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.