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To evaluate the effectiveness of different recovery strategies on repeat cycling performance where a short duration between exercise bouts is required.
Eleven highly trained cyclists (mean ± SD; age = 31 ± 6 y, mass = 74.6 ± 10.6 kg, height = 180.5 ± 8.1 cm) completed 4 trials each consisting of three 30-s maximal sprints (S1, S2, S3) on a cycle ergometer, separated by 20-min recovery periods. In a counterbalanced, crossover design, each trial involved subjects performing 1 of 4 recovery strategies: compression garments (COMP), electronic muscle stimulation (EMS), humidification therapy (HUM), and a passive control (CON). The sprint tests implemented a 60-s preload (at an intensity of 4.5 W/kg) before a 30-s maximal sprint. Mean power outputs (W) for the 3 sprints, in combination with perceived recovery and blood lactate concentration, were used to examine the effect of each recovery strategy.
In CON, S2 and S3 were (mean ± SD) –2.1% ± 3.9% and –3.1% ± 4.2% lower than S1, respectively. Compared with CON, COMP resulted in a higher mean power output from S1 to S2 (mean ± 90%CL: 0.8% ± 1.2%; possibly beneficial) and from S1 to S3 (1.2% ± 1.9%; possibly beneficial), while HUM showed a higher mean power output from S1 to S3 (2.2% ± 2.5%; likely beneficial) relative to CON.
The authors suggest that both COMP and HUM may be effective strategies to enhance recovery between repeated sprint-cycling bouts separated by ~30 min.
Argus, Driller, and Halson are with Performance Recovery, and Martin, the Physiology Dept, Australian Inst of Sport, Belconnen, ACT, Australia. Ebert is with the Australian Inst of Sport Track Cycling Program, Australian Inst of Sport, Adelaide, SA, Australia.