Denadai, B., Guglielmo, L., & Denadai, M. (2000). Effect of exercise mode on the blood lactate removal during recovery of high-intensity exercise. Biology of Sport, 17, 37-45.

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This study determined the effect of exercise mode on blood lactate removal during recovery from high-intensity exercise. Males (3 high-performance swimmers, 2 recreational swimmers, and 4 triathletes) performed running or swimming tests during eight experimental sessions over 18-21 days in order to determine blood lactate removal. Each session started with the following tests: maximum capacity running 2 x 200 m with two minutes of inter-trial rest; maximum capacity swimming 2 x 50 m with two minutes of inter-trial rest. Tests were performed on different days with recovery modes of passive sitting, active swimming, or active running. Recovery exercise intensity was at aerobic threshold. All recovery activities lasted 30 minutes. Both forms of active recovery were initiated two minutes after the end of high-intensity exercise and lasted 15 minutes, and were followed by 13 minutes of passive rest. After 1, 7, 12, 17, and 30 minutes following the end of high-intensity exercise, blood samples were collected to determine the blood lactate concentration. By linear regression, between the logarithm of lactate concentration and its respective time of recovery, the half-time of blood lactate removal (t-half) was determined.

Time of high-intensity exercise and the lactate concentration obtained in the first minute of recovery did not differ between running and swimming. Passive recovery following running showed a t-half lactate value significantly higher than passive recovery following swimming. The t-half of the sequences running-running, running-swimming, swimming-swimming, and swimming-running were significantly lower than the t-half of the running-passive and swimming passive recoveries. There were no differences between the t-half values of the sequences running-running, running-swimming, and swimming-swimming. On the other hand, the sequence swimming-running showed a t-half significantly lower than the sequences swimming-swimming and running-running.

Implication. Active recovery promotes blood lactate removal, regardless of the mode of high-intensity exercise performed previously. Active recovery performed by the muscle groups that were not previously fatigued, can improve the blood lactate removal.

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