Repeatability of the Individual Response to the Use of Active Recovery the Day After High-Intensity Interval Training: A Double-Crossover Trial

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To identify whether the use of active recovery (ACT) the day after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) benefits recovery and to assess whether individual responses to ACT are repeatable. Methods: Eleven well-trained, male intermittent-sport athletes (age: 25.5 ± 1.8 y) completed 4 HIIT sessions, each separated by a 2-week washout period. Of the 4 sessions, 2 were followed by passive recovery (PAS) and 2 by 60 minutes of moderate biking (ACT) 24 hours postexercise in the following sequences: ACT→PAS→ACT→PAS or PAS→ACT→PAS→ACT. Before and after HIIT and after 24 and 48 hours of recovery, maximal voluntary isometric strength (MVIC), countermovement jump height (CMJ), tensiomyographic markers of muscle fatigue (TMG), serum concentration of creatine kinase (CK), muscle soreness (MS), and perceived stress state (PS) were determined. Results: A 3-way repeated-measure analysis of variance with a triple-nested random effects model revealed a significant (P < .05) fatigue-related time effect of HIIT on markers of fatigue (MVIC↓; CMJ↓; TMG↑; CK↑; MS↑; PS↑). No significant (P > .05) main effect of recovery strategy was detected. In 9 subjects, the individual results revealed inconsistent and nonrepeatable responses to ACT, while a consistent and repeatable positive or negative response to ACT was found in 2 individuals. Conclusions: The repeated failure of ACT to limit the severity of fatigue was found both at the group level and with most individuals. However, a small percentage of athletes may be more likely to benefit repeatedly from either ACT or PAS. Therefore, the use of ACT should be individualized.

Wiewelhove, Thase, Glahn, Schneider, Hottenrott, Kellmann, and Ferrauti are with the Faculty of Sport Science, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany. Hessel is with the Inst of Physiology II, University of Münster, Germany. Meyer is with the Inst of Sports and Preventive Medicine, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. Kellmann is also with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Pfeiffer is with the Inst of Sports Science, Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Wiewelhove (thimo.wiewelhove@rub.de) is corresponding author.
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