How Does a Short, Interrupted Recovery Break Affect Performance and How Is It Assessed? A Study on Acute Effects

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

A recovery process with optimal prerequisites that is interrupted is termed disrupted recovery. Whether this process has an influence on performance-related factors needs to be investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine how a short disturbance of a recovery phase is assessed and whether subsequent repeated-sprint performance is affected by it. A quasi-experimental 2 × 2-factor crossover design with 34 sport-science undergraduate students (age 20.3 ± 2.1 y) was applied. Factors were the type of intervention (power nap vs systematic breathing; between-subjects) and the experimental condition (disturbed vs nondisturbed break; within-subject). Repeated-sprint performance was measured through 6 × 4-s sprint protocols (with 20-s breaks) before and after a 25-min recovery break on 2 test days. Subjective evaluation of the interventions was measured through the Short Recovery and Stress Scale and a manipulation check assessing whether participants experienced the recovery phase as efficacious and pleasant. Regarding the objective data, no significant difference between sprint performances in terms of average peak velocity (m/s) on the treadmill was found. The manipulation check revealed that disturbed conditions were rated significantly lower than regular conditions in terms of appreciation, t31 = 3.09, P = .01. Short disturbances of recovery do not seem to affect subsequent performance; nevertheless, participants assessed disturbed conditions more negatively than regular conditions. In essence, the findings indicate a negligible role of short interruptions on an objective level. Subjectively, they affected the performance-related assessment of the participants and should be treated with caution.

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Pelka, Ferrauti, and Kellmann are with the Faculty of Sport Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany. Kellmann is also with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Meyer is with the Inst of Sports and Preventive Medicine, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. Pfeiffer is with the Inst of Sports Science, Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Address author correspondence to Maximilian Pelka at
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance