Tapering: Science And Practice
Avoid overtraining and enhance athletic performance by using basic tapering principles.
Have you or your clients ever experienced decreased exercise performance; fatigue and muscle soreness; elevated heart rate at rest or during exercise; or unintentional loss of body weight? Collectively, these may be warning signs of overtraining—and subsequent detraining if allowed to continue. It is often difficult to clearly define an individual as “overtrained,” because many other factors (medications, disease, stress, etc.) can contribute to the presence of these signs and symptoms. However, one consistent marker for overtraining seems to be a drop in exercise performance during a training period. What is the best strategy to minimize this and other problems that result from overtraining? Research points to tapering—the significant reduction of a client’s training load—as one good solution (Powers & Howley 2001).