The aims of this study were 1) to model the temporal profile of W′ recovery after exhaustion, 2) to estimate the contribution of changing V˙O2 kinetics to this recovery, and 3) to examine associations with aerobic fitness and muscle fiber type (MFT) distribution.
Twenty-one men (age = 25 ± 2 yr, V˙O2peak = 54.4 ± 5.3 mL·min−1·kg−1) performed several constant load tests to determine critical power and W′ followed by eight trials to quantify W′ recovery. Each test consisted of two identical exhaustive work bouts (WB1 and WB2), separated by a variable recovery interval of 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600, or 900 s. Gas exchange was measured and muscle biopsies were collected to determine MFT distribution. W′ recovery was quantified as observed W′ recovery (W′OBS), model-predicted W′ recovery (W′BAL), and W′ recovery corrected for changing V˙O2 kinetics (W′ADJ). W′OBS and W′ADJ were modeled using mono- and biexponential fitting. Root-mean-square error (RMSE) and Akaike information criterion (∆AICC) were used to evaluate the models’ accuracy.
The W′BAL model (τ = 524 ± 41 s) was associated with an RMSE of 18.6% in fitting W′OBS and underestimated W′ recovery for all durations below 5 min (P < 0.002). Monoexponential modeling of W′OBS resulted in τ = 104 s with RMSE = 6.4%. Biexponential modeling of W′OBS resulted in τ1 = 11 s and τ2 = 256 s with RMSE = 1.7%. W′ADJ was 11% ± 1.5% lower than W′OBS (P < 0.001). ∆AICC scores favored the biexponential model for W′OBS, but not for W′ADJ. V˙O2peak (P = 0.009) but not MFT distribution (P = 0.303) was associated with W′OBS.
We showed that W′ recovery from exhaustion follows a two-phase exponential time course that is dependent on aerobic fitness. The appearance of a fast initial recovery phase was attributed to an enhanced aerobic energy provision resulting from changes in V˙O2 kinetics.