While research has been done on the optimal rest intervals during HIIT workouts to promote recovery between high-intensity exercise bouts, it is unclear what type of body position is most effective for promoting recovery. New research reported recovery in a supine or sitting position (passive recovery) resulted in better total work production than walking (active recovery) during a whole body high-intensity workout (WB HIIT). PURPOSE: To determine which recovery strategy, supine or walking, enhances performance during a WB HIIT workout. METHOD: Experienced WB HIIT athletes, including 3 males (33 ± 6.6 y, 178.6 + 5.3 cm, 83.3 + 13.7 kg) and 7 females (32.6 ± 6.6 y, 162.7 + 6.7 cm, 67.7 + 7.5 kg) completed the study. Participants performed 3 sets of 10 front squats at 70% of 1RM followed by a 2-minute row at maximal effort. After a 5-min rest, subjects then performed 3 sets of 8 deadlifts at 80% 1RM followed again by a 2-minute max effort row. After each of the six rowing bouts, participants recovered for 2 minutes in a randomly chosen recovery strategy for that day (supine or walking). The workout was repeated two weeks later using the other recovery strategy. Average power (W) was recorded after each rowing bout and heart rate was recorded after each rowing and recovery bout. Total work (J) across all rowing bouts was calculated by multiplying average power across the workout by 720 seconds). Dependent t-tests were used to determine differences in exercise and recovery heart rates and total work performed between the two workouts at the p<0.05 level. RESULTS: No significant difference in total work was shown between recovery strategies (125,916 ± 33,726 J vs. 125,016 ± 34,759 J for supine and walking, respectively, p>0.05). Participants achieved similar post-row heart rates regardless of recovery position (169.3 ± 7.9 bpm vs 168.6 ± 8.6 bpm for walking vs. supine, respectively, p>0.05), meaning rowing effort was similar between the two workouts. There was, however, a statistical difference between average recovery heart rate between sets (127.7 ± 19.6 bpm vs. 115.4 ± 19.8 bpm, for walking vs supine, respectively, p<0.01). CONCLUSION: The data did not demonstrate a difference in total work performed between recovery strategies. Recovering in a supine position, however, resulted in a faster reduction in heart rate post max effort row, but this did not translate into increased power output or work performed during the workout, which is different than previous work. Future studies should increase the sample size and measure VO2 and lactate during the study which could describe differences in energy expenditure and fuel utilization based on recovery body position.

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