Optimizing Recovery

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Optimizing Recovery

Postby Canuck Singh » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:42 pm

What is the best strategy to speed recovery in between multiple, maximum efforts in the gym or on the field?

Should the athlete maintain light exercise (active recovery) or just remain stationary (passive recovery) as they suck-in that much needed air. This is the question that researchers from The University of Western Australia attempted to answer.

In this study, nine male cyclists were recruited to participate in four randomly assigned sprint training sessions separated by seven days. The sprint bouts consisted of six sets of four second sprints performed every 25 seconds. The subjects were each required to perform two sessions which employed an active recovery (30% of maximal aerobic power) or a passive recovery between each sprint. Muscle biopsies were taken immediately before the sprint session, after the sprint session, and 21 seconds after recovery in order to analyze muscle phosphocreatine, creatine, and muscle lactate concentrations, which are good indicators of energy restoration.

Results of the study indicated that the active recovery resulted in a significant decrease in power across the sprint trials and a significantly lower maximal power output on the final sprint.

While there were no differences between the recovery methods in regard to total work and the total decrease in work measured during the sprints, phosphocreatine levels tended not to be replenished as effectively during the active recovery protocol.

Based upon these findings, active recovery during repeated maximum-effort bouts of exercise may not be as advantageous as passive recovery. This information is useful predominantly to sprinters, bodybuilders and other athletes that train exclusively for strength and explosive power.

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 38:1492-1499, 2006.
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