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The Application of Recovery Strategies for Cyclists

During training and congested competition schedules, recovery strategies are thought to alleviate post-exercise fatigue and enhance subsequent performance. Consequently, a substantial challenge is placed on athletes and coaches to ensure optimal recovery is attained, this has been one of the contributing factors for the development of acute recovery strategies aimed to enhance performance recovery. Recently, athletes have incorporated the use of Intermittent Sequential Pneumatic Compression (ISPC), a form of dynamic compression, to enhance recovery post-exercise. However, with contrasting findings and limited literature, further research is necessary to determine the value of ISPC on exercise recovery and/or subsequent performance. While ISPC has been examined in cycling settings, studies have failed to examine the effects of this strategy in trained cyclists, limiting the ecological validity of their results. Furthermore, the Omnium is a multi-race event in track cycling at the Olympic Games, with short periods of recovery (as little as 30-mins) between 6 separate races. Therefore, the objective of this investigation was to examine the impact of ISPC on trained cyclists, when implemented between a maximal 20-min cycling bout (simulated scratch race) and a 4-min maximal test (simulated individual pursuit), as experienced during an Omnium track cycling competition. Twenty-one (13 male, 8 female, mean ± SD; age: 36 ± 14 years) trained cyclists completed a familiarisation trial followed by two experimental trials in a counterbalanced, crossover design. Participants performed a fixed-intensity 20-min cycling bout on a Wattbike cycle ergometer, followed by a 30-min recovery period where ISPC recovery boots or passive recovery (CON) was implemented. At the conclusion of the recovery period, participants performed a 4-min maximal cycling bout (4-minTT). Average power (Watts) for the 4-minTT, blood lactate concentration (BLa) and perceived total quality recovery (TQR) during the recovery period were used to examine the influence of ISPC. There were no significant differences between trials for the 4-minTT (p = 0.08), with the effect deemed to be trivial (d = -0.08). There was an unclear effect (d ±90%CI = 0.26 ±0.78, p = 0.57) for ISPC vs CON in the clearance of BLa during the recovery period. There was a small but not significant difference for TQR in favour of ISPC (d ±90%CI = 0.27 ±0.27, p = 0.07). These findings suggest there is little additional benefit associated with the use of ISPC to enhance recovery and subsequent performance when used during the recovery period between two events in a simulated Omnium track cycling competition.
Type of thesis
Overmayer, R. G. (2017). The Application of Recovery Strategies for Cyclists (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12099
The University of Waikato
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