Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 761 - 771

Research article
Similar Recovery of Maximal Cycling Performance after Ischemic Preconditioning, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation or Active Recovery in Endurance Athletes
Pénélope Paradis-Deschênes1,2, Julien Lapointe1, Denis R. Joanisse1,2, François Billaut1,2, 
Author Information
1 Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada
2 Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec, QC, Canada

François Billaut
✉ Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University,2300 rue de la Terrasse, Quebec (QC) G1V 0A6, Canada
Publish Date
Received: 17-09-2020
Accepted: 10-11-2020
Published (online): 19-11-2020
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This study investigated the efficacy of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) on the recovery of maximal aerobic performance and physiological responses compared with commonly used techniques. Nine endurance athletes performed two 5-km cycling time trials (TT) interspersed by 45 minutes of recovery that included either IPC, active recovery (AR) or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in a randomized crossover design. Performance, blood markers, arterial O2 saturation (SpO2), heart rate (HR), near-infrared spectroscopy-derived muscle oxygenation parameters and perceptual measures were recorded throughout TTs and recovery. Differences were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVAs and Cohen’s effect size (ES). The decrement in chronometric performance from TT1 to TT2 was similar between recovery modalities (IPC: -6.1 sec, AR: -7.9 sec, NMES: -5.4 sec, p = 0.84, ES 0.05). The modalities induced similar increases in blood volume before the start of TT2 (IPC: 13.3%, AR: 14.6%, NMES: 15.0%, p = 0.79, ES 0.06) and similar changes in lactate concentration and pH. There were negligible differences between conditions in bicarbonate concentration, base excess of blood and total concentration of carbon dioxide, and no difference in SpO2, HR and muscle O2 extraction during exercise (all p > 0.05). We interpreted these findings to suggest that IPC is as effective as AR and NMES to enhance muscle blood volume, metabolic by-products clearance and maximal endurance performance. IPC could therefore complement the athlete’s toolbox to promote recovery.

Key words: Blood flow restriction, endurance, lactate, muscle oxygenation, NIRS

           Key Points
  • The impact of IPC on the recovery of maximal endurance performance and physiological responses to exercise is unknown.
  • IPC appears as effective as active recovery and neuromuscular electrical stimulation to enhance muscle blood volume and metabolic by-products clearance.
  • The performance decrement in a second 5-km cycling time trial repeated after less than an hour of recovery is similar in the three recovery modalities.
  • Ischemic preconditioning may complement the athlete’s toolbox to promote recovery in particular settings.
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