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Fast-Start Strategy Improves V˙O2 Kinetics and High-Intensity Exercise Performance


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 3 - p 457-467
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ef3dce
Applied Sciences

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of pacing strategy on pulmonary V˙O2 kinetics and performance during high-intensity exercise.

Methods: Seven males completed 3- and 6-min bouts of cycle exercise on three occasions with the bouts initiated using an even-start (ES; constant work rate), fast-start (FS), or slow-start (SS) pacing strategy. In all conditions, subjects completed an all-out sprint over the final 60 s of the test as a measure of performance.

Results: For the 3-min exercise bouts, the mean response time (MRT) for the V˙O2 kinetics over the pacing phase was shortest in FS (35 ± 6 s), longest in SS (55 ± 14 s), and intermediate in ES (41 ± 10 s) (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). For the 6-min bouts, the V˙O2 MRT was longer in SS (56 ± 15 s) than that in FS and ES (38 ± 7 and 42 ± 6 s, respectively, P < 0.05). The V˙O2 at the end of exercise was not different from the V˙O2max during the 6-min exercise bouts or 3-FS but was lower than V˙O2max for 3-ES and 3-SS (P < 0.05). The end-sprint performance was significantly enhanced in 3-FS compared with 3-ES and 3-SS (mean power = 374 ± 68 vs 348 ± 61 and 345 ± 71 W, respectively; P < 0.05). However, end-sprint performance was unaffected by pacing strategy in the 6-min bouts.

Conclusions: These data indicate that an FS pacing strategy significantly improves performance during 3-min bouts of high-intensity exercise by speeding V˙O2 kinetics and enabling the attainment of V˙O2max.

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School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Andrew M. Jones, Ph.D., School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, Devon EX1 2LU, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2010.

Accepted for publication June 2010.

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©2011The American College of Sports Medicine