Passive Recovery Is Superior to Active Recovery During a High-Intensity Shock Microcycle


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Abstract

Wahl, P, Zinner, C, Grosskopf, C, Rossmann, R, Bloch, W, and Mester, J. Passive recovery is superior to active recovery during a high-intensity shock microcycle. J Strength Cond Res 27(5): 1384–1393, 2013—The purpose was to examine the effects of a 2-week high-intensity shock microcycle on maximal oxygen consumption and parameters of exercise performance in junior triathletes on the one hand and to evaluate the long-term effects of active (A) vs. passive (P) recovery on the other hand. Sixteen healthy junior triathletes participated in the study. For the assignment to the A or P group, the subjects were matched according to age and performance. Within 2 weeks, a total of 15 high-intensity interval sessions within three 3-day training blocks were performed. Before and 1 week after the last training session, the athletes performed a ramp test to determine V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, a time trial (TT) and a Wingate test. Furthermore, total hemoglobin (Hb) mass was determined. The results of the whole group, independent of the arrangement of recovery, were analyzed at first; second, the A and P groups were analyzed separately. Peak power output (PPO) during the ramp test and TT performance significantly increased in the whole group. The comparison of the 2 groups revealed increases for the mentioned parameters and for V[Combining Dot Above]O2 and power output at VT2 for the P group only. The V[Combining Dot Above]O2max did not change. Wingate performance increased in the A group only. The tHb mass slightly decreased. The main finding of this study was that a 14-day shock microcycle is able to improve TT performance and PPO in junior triathletes in a short period of time. Furthermore, not only the intensity but also the arrangement of interval training seems to be important as well, because only the P group showed improvements in endurance performance, despite a slightly lower training volume. These findings might be relevant for future arrangements of high-intensity interval training.

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