Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense endurance training

E. F. Coyle, W. H. Martin, D. R. Sinacore, M. J. Joyner, J. M. Hagberg, J. O. Holloszy

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234 Scopus citations


Seven endurance exercise-trained subjects were studied 12, 21, 56, and 84 days after cessation of training. Maximal O2 uptake (V̇(O2max)) declined 7% (P < 0.05) during the first 21 days of inactivity and stabilized after 56 days at a level 16% (P < 0.05) below the initial trained value. After 84 days of detraining the experimental subjects still had a higher V̇(O2max) than did eight sedentary control subjects who had never trained (50.8 vs. 43.3 ml·kg-1·min-1), due primarily to a larger arterial-mixed venous O2 (a-vΔO2) difference. Stroke volume (SV) during exercise was high initially and declined during the early detraining period to a level not different from control. Skeletal muscle capillarization did not decline with inactivity and remained 50% above (P < 0.05) sedentary control. Citrate synthase and succinate dehydrogenase activities in muscle declined with a half-time of 12 days and stabilized at levels 50% above sedentary control (P < 0.05). The initial decline in V̇(O2max) was related to a reduced SV and the later decline to a reduced a-vΔO2 difference. Muscle capillarization and oxidative enzyme activity remained above sedentary levels and this may help explain why a-vΔO2 difference and V̇(O2max) after 84 days of detraining were still higher than in untrained subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1857-1864
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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