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Passive versus Active Recovery during High-Intensity Intermittent Exercises

DUPONT, GRÉGORY1; MOALLA, WASSIM2; GUINHOUYA, COMLAVI1; AHMAIDI, SAÏD2; BERTHOIN, SERGE1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2004 - Volume 36 - Issue 2 - p 302-308
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000113477.11431.59
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

DUPONT, G., W. MOALLA, C. GUINHOUYA, S. AHMAIDI, and S. BERTHOIN. Passive versus Active Recovery during High-Intensity Intermittent Exercises. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 302–308, 2004.

Purpose To compare the effects of passive versus active recovery on muscle oxygenation and on the time to exhaustion for high-intensity intermittent exercises.

Methods Twelve male subjects performed a graded test and two intermittent exercises to exhaustion. The intermittent exercises (15 s) were alternated with recovery periods (15 s), which were either passive or active recovery at 40% of V̇O2max. Oxyhemoglobin was evaluated by near-infrared spectroscopy during the two intermittent exercises.

Results Time to exhaustion for intermittent exercise alternated with passive recovery (962 ± 314 s) was significantly longer (P < 0.001) than with active recovery (427 ± 118 s). The mean metabolic power during intermittent exercise alternated with passive recovery (48.9 ± 4.9 mL·kg−1·min−1) was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than during intermittent exercise alternated with active recovery (52.6 ± 4.6 mL·kg−1·min−1). The mean rate of decrease in oxyhemoglobin during intermittent exercises alternated with passive recovery (2.9 ± 2.4%·s−1) was significantly slower (P < 0.001) than during intermittent exercises alternated with active recovery (7.8 ± 3.4%·s−1), and both were negatively correlated with the times to exhaustion (r = 0.67, P < 0.05 and r = 0.81, P < 0.05, respectively).

Conclusion The longer time to exhaustion for intermittent exercise alternated with passive recovery could be linked to lower metabolic power. As intermittent exercise alternated with passive recovery is characterized by a slower decline in oxyhemoglobin than during intermittent exercise alternated with active recovery at 40% of V̇O2max, it may also allow a higher reoxygenation of myoglobin and a higher phosphorylcreatine resynthesis, and thus contribute to a longer time to exhaustion.

1Laboratory of Human Movement Studies, Faculty of Sports Sciences and Physical Education, Lille 2 University, FRANCE; and

2Research Laboratory “APS and Motor Skills: Adaptations and Rehabilitations,” Faculty of Sports Sciences, Jules Verne Picardie University, Amiens, FRANCE

Address for correspondence: Serge Berthoin, Laboratory of Human Movement Studies, Faculty of Sports Sciences and Physical Education, 9, rue de L’université, 59790 Ronchin, France; E-mail: berthoin@hp-sc.univ-lille2.fr.

Submitted for publication May 2003.

Accepted for publication September 2003.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine