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

M. Spencer, David Bishop, Brian Dawson, Carmel Goodman, R. Duffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 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, counterbalanced order: two tests with active recovery (similar to 32% VO2max) and two with passive recovery. Muscle biopsies were taken during the four tests from the vastus lateralis pretest, immediately posttest, and following 21 s of recovery to determine phosphocreatine ([PCr]), creatine, and muscle lactate concentration ([MLa-]). Results: Active recovery resulted in a greater power decrement than passive recovery (7.4 +/- 2.2 vs 5.6 +/- 1.8%, P = 0.01) and lower final peak power (14.9 +/- 1.5 vs 15.3 +/- 1.5 W(.)kg(-1), 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 posttest (32.6 +/- 10.6 vs 45.3 +/- 18.6%; P = 0.06; effect size (ES) = 0.8) and following 21 s of recovery (54.6 +/- 9.6 vs 71.7 +/- 14.1%; P = 0.06; ES = 1.2) during active recovery. The [MLa-] was significantly higher posttest during active recovery (71.7 +/- 12.3 vs 55.2 +/- 15.7 mmol(.)kg(-1) dm; P = 0.048; ES = 1.2); however, no significant differences were evident following 21 s of recovery (55.0 +/- 11.3 vs 48.4 +/- 16.7 mmol(.)kg(-1) 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 [MLa-], 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
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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