This study investigated the acute effect of active recovery (AR) following fatigue induced by 80 three-second maximal voluntary isometric plantar flexion contractions (MVICs) in 12 young men. AR consisted of a total of 180 voluntary isometric ramp contractions of the plantar flexors (0.75-s contraction/relaxation) targeting 10% of MVIC torque. MVIC torque, voluntary activation and root mean square values of electromyographic signals for the triceps surae normalized by each peak-to-peak amplitude of compound motor action potential were determined before, and immediately, 10, 20 and 30 min after the fatiguing task. Evoked torques were similarly assessed except for immediately after it. The AR and passive recovery were randomly performed on two days by each participant between 5 min and 10 min after the fatiguing task. For all the parameters other than MVIC torque, there was no significant difference between the conditions at any time point. MVIC torque decreased significantly immediately after the fatiguing task regardless of condition (P < 0.05), and the corresponding decrease in MVIC torque recovered 30 min after the fatiguing task only in AR (P < 0.05). These results suggest an acute positive effect of AR on recovery of neuromuscular function and/or contractile properties after fatigue.
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