Bosquet, L., Montpetit, J., Arvisais, D., & Mujika, I. (2007). Effects of tapering on performance: A meta-analysis. ACSM Annual Meeting New Orleans, Presentation Number, 1464.

The purpose of this investigation was to assess the effects of alterations in taper components on performance in competitive athletes, through a meta-analysis. Six databases were searched using relevant terms and strategies. Criteria for study inclusion were: Ss must be competitive athletes; a tapering intervention must be employed providing details about the procedures used to decrease the training load; use of actual competition or field-based criterion performance; and the inclusion of all necessary data to calculate effect sizes. Data sets reported in more than one published study were included only once in the analysis. Twenty-seven of 182 potential studies met these criteria and were considered. The dependent variable was performance, and the independent variables were the decrease in training intensity, training volume and frequency, as well as the pattern of the taper and its duration.

The optimal strategy to optimize performance is a tapering intervention of two weeks duration, where the training volume is decreased exponentially by 41-60% without any modification of either training intensity or frequency.

Implication. A two-week taper during which training volume is exponentially reduced by 41-60% appears to be the most efficient strategy to maximize performance gains.

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