Effect of gender on fatigue and recovery following maximal intensity repeated sprint performance

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Sep;50(3):243-53.


Aim: This study investigated the effects of gender on repeated, maximal-intensity intermittent sprint exercise following variable day-to-day recovery periods.

Methods: Sixteen volunteers (8 men, 8 women) performed four trials of high-intensity intermittent sprint exercise consisting of three bouts of eight 30 m sprints (total of 24 sprints). Following completion of the baseline trial, in repeated-measures design, participants were assigned, in counter-balanced order, variable recovery periods of 24, 48, and 72 h whereupon they repeated an identical exercise trial.

Results: Results from a series of 4 (trial) x 3 (bout) repeated measures ANOVAs revealed men produced significantly (P < 0.01) faster times throughout all bouts and trials of repeated sprint exercise. Additionally, women exhibited significantly lower (P < 0.05) blood lactate concentration and significantly lower (P < 0.05) decrement in performance, indicating increased resistance to fatigue during repeated exercise sessions. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between genders for heart rate or rating of perceived exertion during or following trials. There were no significant differences for overall sprint performance within either gender among trials.

Conclusion: These results indicate men, while able to produce higher absolute power outputs (i.e., lower sprint time), demonstrate higher decrement scores within a trial compared to women, thus suggesting women may recover faster and fatigue less. Also, gender differences affecting recovery within in a trial were observed to be diminished between trials (i.e., day-to-day recovery) of maximal intermittent sprint work evidenced by the observed stability of performance between trials following various recovery durations.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Lactates