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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-12

Effects of active recovery on muscle function following high-intensity training sessions in elite olympic weightlifters

1 Department of Training and Exercise Science, Faculty of Sport Science, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany
2 Department of Training and Exercise Science, Faculty of Sport Science, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany; School of Human Movement Studies and School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
3 Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany
4 Institute of Sport Science, Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Christian Raeder
Ruhr-University Bochum, Faculty of Sport Science, Department of Training and Exercise Science, Gesundheitscampus Nord 10, 44801 Bochum
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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This study investigated whether the repeated use of an active recovery (ACT) program is beneficial for promoting recovery of muscle function during an intensive training phase in elite Olympic weightlifters. Using a crossover design, eight competitive weightlifters (7 male; 1 female) from the German national Olympic team participated in a two-day microcycle, comprising of four high-intensity training sessions, with either ACT or passive recovery (PAS) following the session. Barbell velocity during the clean pull, countermovement jump (CMJ) height, muscle contractile properties using tensiomyography (TMG), creatine kinase activity (CK), muscle soreness (DOMS) and perceived overall recovery and stress were measured. After termination of the microcycle, the sport-specific performance during all clean pull intensities (85% 1RM, ACT: Effect size (ES) = -0.20, PAS: ES = -0.50; 90% 1RM, ACT: ES = -0.29, PAS: ES = -0.35; 95% 1RM, ACT: ES = -0.41, PAS: ES = -020; P > 0.05) decreased. Both CK (ACT: ES = 2.11, PAS: ES = 1.41; P = 0.001) and DOMS (ACT: ES = 1.65, PAS: ES = 2.33; P = 0.052) considerably increased. Similarly, ratings of perceived recovery and stress were adversely affected in ACT and PAS, whereas changes in CMJ height and TMG muscle contractile properties remained trivial in both conditions. No practically meaningful differences in changes of the outcome measures were found between ACT and PAS, however there were variable individual responses to ACT. In conclusion, the short-term implementation of an individualized ACT program does not seem to enhance recovery from training-induced fatigue more effectively than PAS. However, because of the inter-individual variability in responses to ACT, it may be beneficial at the individual level.

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