Metabolism and Performance in Repeated Cycle Sprints: Active versus Passive Recovery

Matt Spencer, David Bishop, Brian Dawson, Carmel Goodman, Rob Duffield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    84 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: To compare active versus passive recovery on performance and metabolism during a test of repeated-sprint ability. Methods: Nine males performed four repeated-sprint cycle tests (six 4-s sprints, every 25 s) in a randomized, counter balanced order: two tests with active recovery (~32%V'O2max) and two with passive recovery. Muscle biopsies were taken during the four tests from the vastus lateralis pretest, immediately post test, and following 21 s of recovery to determine phosphocreatine ([PCr]), creatine, and muscle lactate concentration ([MLaj]).Results: Active recovery resulted in a greater power decrement than passive recovery (7.4 T 2.2 vs 5.6 T 1.8%, P = 0.01) and lower final peak power (14.9 T 1.5 vs 15.3 T 1.5 WIkgj1, P = 0.02). However, there was no significant difference in work decrement or total work. The percent of resting [PCr] was lower and approached significance post test (32.6 T 10.6 vs 45.3 T 18.6%; P = 0.06; effect size(ES) = 0.8) and following 21 s of recovery (54.6 T 9.6 vs 71.7 T 14.1%; P = 0.06; ES = 1.2) during active recovery. The [MLaj] was significantly higher post test during active recovery (71.7 T 12.3 vs 55.2 T 15.7 mmolIkgj1 dm; P = 0.048; ES = 1.2); however, nosignificant differences were evident following 21 s of recovery (55.0 T 11.3 vs 48.4 T 16.7 mmolIkgj1 dm, P = 0.07; ES = 0.5).Conclusions: Despite no differences in the majority of performance measures, active recovery resulted in a significantly lower final peak power, a greater peak power decrement, a higher [MLaj], and a strong trend towards lower [PCr], suggesting a potential suboptimal effect of active recovery during repeated-sprint exercise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1492-1499
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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