Active Recovery btwn speed work = More Power

Check out this study from PubMed:

The main statement in this study suggests:

“Recovery of power output during repeated sprint exercise is enhanced when low-intensity exercise is performed between sprints”

Effects of active recovery on power output during repeated maximal sprint cycling.

Bogdanis GC, Nevill ME, Lakomy HK, Graham CM, Louis G.

Department of Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management, Loughborough University, UK.

The effects of active recovery on metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses and power output were examined during repeated sprints. Male subjects (n = 13) performed two maximal 30-s cycle ergometer sprints, 4 min apart, on two separate occasions with either an active [cycling at 40 (1)% of maximal oxygen uptake; mean (SEM)] or passive recovery. Active recovery resulted in a significantly higher mean power output (W) during sprint 2, compared with passive recovery [W] 603 (17) W and 589 (15) W, P < 0.05]. This improvement was totally attributed to a 3.1 (1.0)% higher power generation during the initial 10 s of sprint 2 following the active recovery (P < 0.05), since power output during the last 20 s sprint 2 was the same after both recoveries. Despite the higher power output during sprint 2 after active recovery, no differences were observed between conditions in venous blood lactate and pH, but peak plasma ammonia was significantly higher in the active recovery condition [205 (23) vs 170 (20) mumol .l-1; P < 0.05]. No differences were found between active and passive recovery in terms of changes in plasma volume or arterial blood pressure throughout the test. However, heart rate between the two 30-s sprints and oxygen uptake during the second sprint were higher for the active compared with passive recovery [148 (3) vs 130 (4) beats.min-1; P < 0.01) and 3.3 (0.1) vs 2.8 (0.1) l.min-1; P < 0.01]. These data suggest that recovery of power output during repeated sprint exercise is enhanced when low-intensity exercise is performed between sprints. The beneficial effects of an active recovery are possibly mediated by an increased blood flow to the previously exercised muscle.

PMID: 8954294 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Here’s the exact link:

So does this mean that we should be doing some light jogging btwn sets of sprints to maximize the power output on the next rep?

Those sprints were for 30 sec durations! Yikes… I don’t know if that study is as specific on its impact on 5-7 second sprints for it to catch too much mention here.

Other studies showed that light jogging for short sprinters was useless and didn’t helped to lower lactate level for next rep. Also, it seems individual, ans some sprinters think they will die if they jog after sprints as active rest, so sometimes psychological aspects are more important than physiological…

We tried including a couple of short tempo runs between rep 80’s and found that the only difference it made was that the athletes legs get heavy and ache a little more after the session. Walking is probably sufficient.

We used a simple shuffle walk/jog thing between some SE1 and SE2 runs. It seems to help, however, it’s very individual as most athletes wish to move as little as possible between reps!


don’t forget that the study examined performance on a cycle ergometer

big difference for me…