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

J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Feb 1;35(Suppl 1):S180-S187. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002960.


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 35(2S): S180-S187, 2021-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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight Lifting
  • Young Adult