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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Mar;43(3):457-67. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ef3dce.

Fast-start strategy improves VO2 kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance.

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School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of pacing strategy on pulmonary VO2 kinetics and performance during high-intensity exercise.


Seven males completed 3- and 6-min bouts of cycle exercise on three occasions with the bouts initiated using an even-start (ES; constant work rate), fast-start (FS), or slow-start (SS) pacing strategy. In all conditions, subjects completed an all-out sprint over the final 60 s of the test as a measure of performance.


For the 3-min exercise bouts, the mean response time (MRT) for the VO2 kinetics over the pacing phase was shortest in FS (35 ± 6 s), longest in SS (55 ± 14 s), and intermediate in ES (41 ± 10 s) (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). For the 6-min bouts, the VO2 MRT was longer in SS (56 ± 15 s) than that in FS and ES (38 ± 7 and 42 ± 6 s, respectively, P < 0.05). The VO2 at the end of exercise was not different from the VO2max during the 6-min exercise bouts or 3-FS but was lower than VO2max for 3-ES and 3-SS (P < 0.05). The end-sprint performance was significantly enhanced in 3-FS compared with 3-ES and 3-SS (mean power = 374 ± 68 vs 348 ± 61 and 345 ± 71 W, respectively; P < 0.05). However, end-sprint performance was unaffected by pacing strategy in the 6-min bouts.


These data indicate that an FS pacing strategy significantly improves performance during 3-min bouts of high-intensity exercise by speeding VO2 kinetics and enabling the attainment of VO2max.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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