Different Intensities Of Active Recovery Impair Performance During Repeated Swimming Sprints

Por: Argyris G. Toubekis, G. Mavridis, Savvas Tokmakidis e T. Tahtalis.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Active or passive recovery may be applied during the resting interval separating sprint-swimming bouts. In contrast to
the common belief, recent research has found that performance was decreased when active recovery was applied
between swimming sprints (Toubekis and Tokmakidis 2003, Peyrebrune et al., 2001). The intensity of the applied
active recovery may be an important determinant for the deterioration of sprinting ability. So far an intensity
corresponding to 60% of the 100 m velocity has been used and there is lack of data on other intensities. The purpose of
the present study was to examine the effect of different active recovery intensities on sprinting performance.

Nine male and one female national level swimmers (n=10, mean±SE, age: 18.7±0.6 years, VO2 max: 63.6±1.7
ml/kg/min, 100 m time: 56.4±0.8 s) participated on separate days in three randomly assigned trials. Within each trial
they swam eight by 25 m all-out sprints (8x25) interspersed with 45 s resting interval. During the resting interval period
swimmers remain standing passively in the water (PAS trial) or swam at intensity corresponding to 50 (ACT50 trial) or
60% (ACT60 trial) of the 100 m velocity. Blood samples were taken after warm-up and after the last 25 m sprint. The
tests were performed during the same time of the day in a 25 m indoors swimming pool with a water temperature of 25-
260 C. The crawl swimming style was used for sprints and active recovery. All sprints started from push-off and
performance times were recorded with an official timing system used during competition.

Performance was no different between trials in the first sprint, but was reduced during all successive repetitions in the
ACT50 and ACT60 trials compared to PAS trial. No difference was observed in all 25 m repetitions between the
ACT50 and ACT60 trials (Figure 1; PAS:13.24±0.16, ACT50:13.56±0.17, ACT60:13.58±0.16 s, main effect in trials,
sprints and interaction p<0.05). Blood lactate was lower at the end of ACT50 and ACT60 compared to the PAS (Figure
1; PAS:12.40±1.10, ACT50:10.24±0.72, ACT60:10.48±1.08 mmol/l, main effect in trials and interaction, p<0.05).
Plasma ammonia and plasma glycerol were increased after the last sprint compared to resting values but no difference
was observed between trials (Post 8x25; Ammonia: PAS:89.0±10.3, ACT50:106.2±20.5, ACT60:126.9±16.4 μmol/l ;
Glycerol: PAS:0.157±0.02, ACT50:0.148±0.02, ACT60:0.168±0.02 mmol/l, main effect trials, p>0.05).

Sprinting ability of well-trained swimmers decreases when active recovery is performed during the resting interval
separating 25 m swimming bouts. The decreased performance is independent of the intensity of active recovery within
the range of 50-60% of the 100 m velocity. Active recovery should not be applied during the resting interval of
swimming sets designed to improve sprinting ability.

[1]. Peyrebrune M., Toubekis A., Lakomy H., Nevill M. (2001). Proceedings of the 6th ECSS, Kologne, p.11178
Toubekis A. and Tokmakidis S. (2003). Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming IX, pp.469-474

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