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Chronic Psychological Stress Impairs Recovery of Muscular Function and Somatic Sensations over a 96 Hour Period

Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association | 18 Dec 2013

MA Stults-Kolehmainen, JB Bartholomew and R Sinha
The primary aim of this study was to determine whether chronic mental stress moderates recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations: perceived energy, fatigue and soreness, in a four-day period following a bout of strenuous resistance exercise. Undergraduate resistance training students (n = 31, age = 20.26 ± 1.34 y) completed the perceived stress scale (PSS) and Undergraduate Stress Questionnaire, measure of life event stress. At a later visit, they performed an acute heavy-resistance exercise protocol (10-RM leg press test plus six sets: 80-100% of 10-RM). Maximal isometric force (MIF), perceived energy, fatigue, and soreness were assessed in approximately 24-hour intervals post-exercise. Recovery data was analyzed with hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) growth curve analysis. Life event stress significantly moderated linear (p = .027) and squared (p = .031) recovery of MIF. This relationship held even when the model was adjusted for fitness, workload, and training experience. Perceived energy (p = .038), fatigue (p = .040) and soreness (p = .027) all were moderated by life stress. Mean perceived stress modulated linear and squared recovery of MIF (p values < .001) and energy (p = .004) but not fatigue or soreness. In all analyses, higher stress was associated with worse recovery. Stress, whether assessed as life event stress or perceived stress, moderated the recovery trajectories of muscular function and somatic sensations in a 96 hour period after strenuous resistance exercise. Therefore, under conditions of inordinate stress, individuals may need to be more mindful about observing an appropriate length of recovery.
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Force, Stress, Strength training, Exercise, Weight training, Isometric exercise
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