Optimal active recovery intensity in Standardbreds after submaximal work

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Abstract

Reasons for performing study:

A retrospective study concerning spontaneous active recovery intensity, i.e. at a freely chosen speed, after a submaximal exercise in trotters showed that the mean intensity demanded by trainers corresponds to 40-50% of maximal heart rate (max HR; unpublished data). However, in human athletes, optimal active recovery intensity was found to be about 60-70% of max HR. Is the spontaneous recovery optimal after a submaximal exercise in trotters?

Objectives:

To compare different recovery intensities and define the most efficient one.

Methods:

Thirty-seven trotters performed a standardised exercise test on the track. Horses were randomly divided into 4 groups of recovery: passive recovery (n = 10), 10 min walk recovery (n = 10,100 m/min), 10 min slow trot recovery (n = 9, 250 m/min) and 10 min fast trot recovery (n = 8, 420 m/min). Before, during and 1 h after exercise, speed, heart rate, blood lactate concentration were measured as well as respiratory frequency and rectal temperature. Creatine kinase (CK) was measured 1, 3 and 5 h after exercise.

Results:

Walk, slow trot and fast trot recovery corresponded respectively to 45-50%, 55-60% and 65-70% of max HR. Heart rate and blood lactate concentration were significantly lower after the 10 sec recovery with increasing intensity of recovery.

Conclusion:

The most efficient intensity of recovery was the 10 min fast trot recovery (65-70% max HR) as this type of recovery allows the optimal blood lactate disappearance.

Potential relevance:

Considering the usual habits of trainers or drivers, recovery intensity after trot races should be increased in intensity to optimise its efficiency.

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