Effect of Recovery Interventions on Cycling Performance and Pacing Strategy in the Heat

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To determine the effect of active recovery (AR), passive rest (PR), and cold-water immersion (CWI) after 90 min of intensive cycling on a subsequent 12-min time trial (TT2) and the applied pacing strategy in TT2.

Methods:

After a maximal test and familiarization trial, 9 trained male subjects (age 22 ± 3 y, VO2max 62.1 ± 5.3 mL · min−1 · kg−1) performed 3 experimental trials in the heat (30°C). Each trial consisted of 2 exercise tasks separated by 1 h. The first was a 60-min constant-load trial at 55% of the maximal power output followed by a 30-min time trial (TT1). The second comprised a 12-min simulated time trial (TT2). After TT1, AR, PR, or CWI was applied for 15 min.

Results:

No significant TT2 performance differences were observed, but a 1-sample t test (within each condition) revealed different pacing strategies during TT2. CWI resulted in an even pacing strategy, while AR and PR resulted in a gradual decline of power output after the onset of TT2 (P ≤ .046). During recovery, AR and CWI showed a trend toward faster blood lactate ([BLa]) removal, but during TT2 significantly higher [BLa] was only observed after CWI compared with PR (P = .011).

Conclusion:

The pacing strategy during subsequent cycling performance in the heat is influenced by the application of different postexercise recovery interventions. Although power was not significantly altered between groups, CWI enabled a differently shaped power profile, likely due to decreased thermal strain.

The authors are with the Dept of Human Physiology and Sports Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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