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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Feb;108(3):523-32. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1248-6. Epub 2009 Oct 24.

Restoration of blood pH between repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise: effects of various active-recovery protocols.

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Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain.


To determine which active-recovery protocol would reduce faster the high blood H(+) and lactate concentrations produced by repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise (HIE). On three occasions, 11 moderately trained males performed 4 bouts (1.5 min) at 163% of their respiratory compensation threshold (RCT) interspersed with active-recovery: (1) 4.5 min pedalling at 24% RCT (S(HORT)); (2) 6 min at 18% RCT (M(EDIUM)); (3) 9 min at 12% RCT (L(ONG)). The total work completed during recovery was the same in all three trials. Respiratory gases and arterialized-blood samples were obtained during exercise. At the end of exercise, L(ONG) in comparison to S(HORT) and M(EDIUM) increased plasma pH (7.32 +/- 0.02 vs. approximately 7.22 +/- 0.03; P < 0.05), while reduced lactate concentration (8.5 +/- 0.9 vs. approximately 10.9 +/- 0.8 mM; P < 0.05). Ventilatory equivalent for CO(2) was higher in L(ONG) than S(HORT) and M(EDIUM) (31.4 +/- 0.5 vs. approximately 29.6 +/- 0.5; P < 0.05). Low-intensity prolonged recovery between repeated bouts of HIE maximized H(+) and lactate removal likely by enhancing CO(2) unloading.

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