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
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 05, 97 - 105

Research article
Effects of Active Recovery on Lactate Concentration, Heart Rate and RPE in Climbing
Nick Draper , Ellis L. Bird, Ian Coleman, Chris Hodgson
Author Information
Centre for Adventure Science Research, University of Chichester, West Sussex, UK

Nick Draper
‚úČ Centre for Adventure Science Research, University of Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex, UK.
Publish Date
Received: 23-12-2005
Accepted: 30-01-2006
Published (online): 01-03-2006
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The performance advantage of active rather than passive recovery during subsequent trials for repeated high intensity short-term exercise is well documented. Research findings suggest that shorter periods of active recovery, than traditionally employed, can be prescribed and still retain performance benefits over passive recoveries in successive exercise trials. The aim of this study was to examine the benefits of a short duration active recovery for repeat climbing trials. Ten recreational climbers volunteered for the study. In this randomly assigned crossover study each climber completed five two-minute climbing trails before a two minute active or passive recovery. This was followed by a one and a half minute passive refocusing period for all climbers before the subsequent climbing trial. Heart rate was monitored continuously, RPE immediately post climbing and fingertip capillary blood samples collected during each refocusing phase. There was a non-significant difference between active and passive recoveries for heart rate during climbing. After the active phase climbers had higher heart rates than when following the passive recovery protocol, however, by the end of the refocusing phase the active recovery protocol led to lower heart rates than for the entirely passive recovery. There was a significant difference between active and passive recovery conditions in lactate concentration (F(1,9) = 18.79, p = 0.002) and RPE (F(1,9) = 6.51, p = 0.031). Lactate concentration and RPE were lower across all five climbing trials for the active recovery protocol. After active recovery climbers started the next trial with a lower arterial lactate concentration than for a passive recovery and indicated lower RPE scores at the end of each climb. The refocusing period following active recovery allowed climbers heart rates to return to a lower level at the start of the next climb than for the passive recovery condition.

Key words: Rock climbing, RPE, lactate concentration, active recovery

           Key Points
  • The three and half minute recovery strategy employed in this study did not allow sufficient time for complete recovery for either the active or passive conditions.
  • The active condition appeared to allow for a more complete recovery after each climbing trial than did the passive recovery.
  • Lactate concentrations and RPE were lower for the active recovery.
  • The use of larger and or alternative muscle groups in the active recovery may benefit lactate clearance.
  • The use of a refocusing passive phase at the end of the active recovery may provide a useful and more ecologically valid mechanism for recovery in an applied sporting context.
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