Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2015) 14, 769 - 775
Research article
Effect of Two Types of Active Recovery on Fatigue and Climbing Performance
Pedro L. Valenzuela1,, Pedro de la Villa1, Carmen Ferragut2

1 Physiology, Biology Systems Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain
2 Sport and Physical Education Area, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain

Pedro L. Valenzuela
✉ Physiology, Biology Systems Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Ctra. Barcelona, Km 33,600. 28871, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

02-07-2015 -- Accepted: 03-09-2015 --
Published (online): 24-11-2015


Performing intra-session recovery is important in rock climbing due to the multiple efforts that climbers are required to make in competitions, as well as repeated climbing trials that they carry out during training sessions. Active recovery has been shown to be a better option than passive recovery. However, the type of active recovery that should be done and the influence of the type and quantity of muscle mass activated are not clear. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of recovering with easy climbing (CR) or walking (WR) on markers of fatigue and climbing performance. For this purpose, 14 subjects participated in this randomly assigned crossover protocol completing three two-minute climbing trials separated by two minutes of active recovery with the assigned method. Seven days later participants carried out the same protocol with the other recovery method. Blood lactate (La-), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and heart rate (HR) were analyzed as markers of fatigue and recovery, while meters climbed (MC) and handgrip force (HF) were analyzed for performance. La- values before the last climbing trial (p < 0.05; d = 0.69) and Peak La- values (p < 0.05; d = 0.77) were lower for CR than for WR. Climbers were able to ascend more meters in the set time when following the CR protocol (p < 0.01; d = 0.6), which shows the important role of the active recovery method carried out on climbing performance. There were no differences in HR, HF or RPE between protocols. A more sport-specific recovery protocol, in addition to moving great muscle mass (e.g. lower limbs), seems to enhance recovery and to facilitate lactate removal. For this reason, CR appears to be a more effective active recovery method than WR in sport rock climbing.

Key words: Blood lactate, rock climbing, handgrip force, active recovery, fatigue, performance
Key Points
  • Climbing recovery improved lactate removal in comparison with walking recovery.
  • Subjects were able to climb more meters in a determined time when easy climbing instead of walking during recoveries.
  • Activating both great muscle mass like that of the lower limbs as well as the main fatigue producing muscles (forearms in climbing) seems more effective for recovering than activating just great muscle mass.


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    Carmen Ferragut, Pedro de la Villa, Pedro L. Valenzuela, (2015) Effect of Two Types of Active Recovery on Fatigue and Climbing Performance. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (14), 769 - 775.

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