Ohmori, H., Shimegi, S., Fujimoto, K., Kano, Y., Inaki, M., Miyamaru, M., & Katsuta, S. (1999). The effect of strength training is potentially memorized and reinforced by retraining. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 1642.

This study evaluated whether strength training was potentially retained during a detraining period and reinforced by retraining. Untrained men were divided into two groups. The retraining group performed a strength-training program for seven weeks, which was followed by 16 weeks of detraining. A control group, along with the original group, then performed eight weeks of the original training (1-3 x 10 repetitions with 10-RM load, or 1-3 x 4 repetitions with 4-RM load, using elbow and knee extension exercises, one day per week).

Maximal strength in 4-RM for knee and elbow extensions was significantly improved in the first seven weeks. Upon detraining, strength returned to untrained levels. Upon retraining, the previously trained group improved significantly more than the newly trained group. This supported the contention that aspects of initial strength training are maintained through periods of detraining, and promote faster reacquisition rates than those exhibited in the original training period.

Implication. Strength training gains are not completely lost in periods of detraining.

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