Oxygen Costs Peak After Resistance Exercise Sets: A Rationale for the Importance of Recovery Over Exercise

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Journal of Exercise Physiology Online


Oxygen Debt, Respiratory Exchange Ratio, Excess Post- Exercise Oxygen Consumption, Weight Loss


During the first minute after a single set of resistance training, oxygen uptake rates are greater than exercise oxygen uptake (VO2). The purpose of this study was to determine if this is also true for multiple sets using different lifting cadences while attempting to more precisely determine when peak VO2 rates took place. Ten male volunteers performed 3 sets of 5 repetitions of the bench press at 70% of one-repetition maximum (1-RM). The timing of eccentric and concentric contractions provided 3 separate protocols: (1) 1.5 sec down and up; (2) 4 sec down, 1 sec up; and (3) 1 sec down, 4 sec up. Gas exchange was collected in 5-sec periods for all three protocols with 15-sec periods for the 1.5/1.5 protocol. Oxygen uptake after brief bouts of resistance exercise increased with all sets and protocols, then, it declined towards resting levels; median time to peak was significantly less for the 3 sets of 1.5/1.5 (35.5 sec) as compared to 4/1 (45.0 sec) (P = 0.02) but not 1/4 (41.5 sec) (4/1 and 1/4 did not differ). The respiratory exchange ratio ranged from 0.80 ± 0.06 to 1.42 ± 0.18, rising and falling twice within 4 min recovery periods between all sets and among all protocols. These findings indicate that the VO2 rates peaked within 35 to 45 sec after brief bouts of low intensity resistance exercise. It is suggested that intermittent type exercise programming (weight lifting and Tabata training) consider recurrent rest or active recovery periods as having the potential to play the predominate role in caloric expenditure related to fat loss.


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