Tapering Practices of Croatian Open-Class Powerlifting Champions

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Grgic, J and Mikulic, P. Tapering practices of Croatian open-class powerlifting champions. J Strength Cond Res 31(9): 2371–2378, 2017—The aim of this study was to explore tapering practices among 10 Croatian open-class powerlifting champions (mean ± SD: age 29.2 ± 3.2 years; Wilks coefficient 355.1 ± 54.8). The athletes were interviewed about their tapering practices using a semi-structured interview after which the audio content was transcribed. The athletes reported decreasing training volume during the taper by 50.5 ± 11.7% using a step type or an exponential type of taper with a fast decay. Training intensity was maintained or increased during the taper, and it reached its highest values 8 ± 3 days before the competition. Training frequency was reduced or maintained during the taper. The final week included a reduction in training frequency by 47.9 ± 17.5% with the last training session performed 3 ± 1 days before the competition. The participants typically stated that the main reasons for conducting the taper were maintaining strength and reducing the amount of fatigue. They also stated that (a) the taper was structured identically for the squat, bench press, and the deadlift; (b) the training during the taper was highly specific, the assistance exercises were removed, and the same equipment was used as during competition; (c) the source of information for tapering was their coach, and training fluctuated based on the coach's feedback; and (d) nutrition, foam rolling, static stretching, and massage were all given extra attention during the taper. These results may aid athletes and coaches in strength sports in terms of the optimization of tapering variables.

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