Toubekis, A. G., Douda, H. T., & Tokmakidis, S. P. (2005). Influence of different rest intervals during active or passive recovery on repeated sprint swimming performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 93, 694-700.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of active and passive recovery after two different rest intervals on performance during repeated bouts of maximal swimming exercise. Swimmers (M = 8; F = 8) performed four trials in a counterbalanced order. Eight repetitions of 25-m sprints (8 x 25 m), with a rest interval of 45 or 120 seconds, followed by a 50-m sprint test six minutes later, were performed in each trial. The 45 or 120-s intervals were either active or passive. The intensity of the active recovery corresponded to 60% of the individual best 100-m velocity.

The first 25-m sprint was comparable across trials, but performance decreased after the second sprint during active compared to passive recovery, irrespective of the rest-interval duration. The 50-m sprint time was 2.4% better in the longer rest conditions than in the shorter rest conditions. After completing the 8 x 25 m swims, blood lactate was decreased with active recovery when the interval period was 120 seconds. Blood lactate concentration at the start as well as five minutes after the 50-m sprint was lower in the active recovery conditions than in the passive recovery conditions.

Implication. The interval period separating short-duration sprints may alter performance when subsequent maximum exertion is required. For sustained sprinting ability, passive recovery is advised during repeated swimming sprints of short duration despite active recovery promoting faster removal of lactate.

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