How much training break can I afford? Fitness expert answers

A longer break from training is a nightmare for many athletes, as they fear to have a fresh start. The fear is usually unfounded: The muscle cells “remember” their old state.

Skeletal muscle cells are the largest cells in the human. You grow the cell nuclei reach the limits of their performance. To be sure that the muscles can continue to grow, the body forms additional nuclei. In the framework of the rebuilding of muscle mass, it comes to a variety of unique effects.

Cells remember their old state

The so-called mitosis, is one of these effects. This is formed in the structure of a muscle cell in the sense of a cell-doubling time equal to a so-called “daughter cell”. This cell has a sort of brain, in consequence of a certain memory and can save the old Growth, making it comes after a break from training and the following new exposure to a rapid recovery of the old muscle mass. Even if you do not train, stay the nuclei of the cells preserved and can be reactivated after the Pause, even if the muscle is already broken down.

About the expert

Dr. Michel (37) has excellent athleticism and a Personal Trainer, author, extreme athlete and medal winner. Prior to that, he was for many years an officer and a specialty of the German armed forces, as well as management trainers soldier in a world group. More information to him, there is on

However, this only applies for the nuclei that were formed in the cell and not in the spaces between cells. Anyone who puts in the Training, like for example, classic-Bodybuilding, the focus on a pure mass gain, will benefit after a longer break less from muscle memory, as an athlete, which sets the focus on the strength gains. Although athletes are in need of a strong muscles. For the Bodybuilder it is, but more so, if possible, visible, well-defined muscles. The number of Sarcomeres is increased in consequence, so the basic components of the muscles, causing these to enlarge their scope. This fact gives a Bodybuilder as opposed to pure strength athletes, among other things, the classic, defined look.

In General, the ability to use the cell cores in the sense of a “Muscle-Memory-Effects” decreases with age, because the Milieu of the cell is poor. Through a varied, healthy and mentally active life style, this process can be slowed down considerably. A well-balanced diet and sufficient, regular sleep to play in this process also a decisive role.

Follow a break from training for endurance athletes

How is Training and muscle memory effects in Endurance athletes? The muscles, and especially muscle mass plays for endurance athletes is less important than the metabolism, nevertheless, it has an impact. In a study by the American College of Sports Medicine from the 80s that has still not lost its validity, were swimmers studied, after an intensive 5-month training phase had a break of four weeks.

It was fully shown that the structural System breaks down within the first seven to 28 days at the most. After one week, the swimmers lost almost exactly half of their respiratory capacity – so the efficiency of the respiratory muscles – in the studied muscles. At the same time, lactate tolerance dropped under load. In consequence, the affected swimmers lost so much performance. However, was observed after the first four weeks, only a slow degradation of these athletic performance.

Conclusion: As an endurance athlete, you build in the first four weeks of a break from training the most, but then there is very little – at least on the structural systems.

The metabolic influence endurance performance, of course, crucial. This depends on a variety of factors, but can be very good on the VO2max – maximum oxygen uptake – describe. This Parameter gives information about the ability of our metabolism of oxygen, and to use, and is therefore, for all endurance athletes directly to the performance of coupled.

The strongest drop in performance at the beginning of the break

In a study conducted by the National Institue of Health from the 90s well-trained study participants who reduced their Training for four weeks dramatically. From six to ten hours per week to 35 minutes of exercise per week. Even when the individual’s endurance capacity decreased due to the strong reduction in Training in the four weeks easily, there was no drop in the maximum oxygen uptake capacity in the first ten days of break from training.

For trained endurance athletes, this means that, as a rule, within the first ten days of a training break, no loss of performance. Another result of the study shows that the better the endurance performance before the training break, the longer it will take, until it comes to a reduction in measurable Performance.

Two weeks of training break are usually not a Problem

For beginners is that you lose formerly in power, as a trained athlete, probably in the first two weeks of a break from training. If you exercise regularly over a prolonged period – i.e. for about 2-4 units a week to complete – they need have no concerns about that they start after a two week break back at “Zero”.