The relationship between repeated sprint ability and the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems

J Sci Med Sport. 1998 Jun;1(2):100-10. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(98)80018-2.


A large number of team games require participants to repeatedly produce maximal or near maximal sprints of short duration with brief recovery periods. The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationship between a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test that is specific to the energy demands of Australian Rules football (ARF), and the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Seventeen ARF players participated in the study. Each participant was assessed for VO2 max, accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD), best 20 m sprint time and RSA. The RSA test involved 12x20 m sprints departing every 20 s. When including the work performed during the time taken to decelerate, the test involved a work to rest ratio of approximately 1:3. Total sprinting time and the percentage decrement of repeated sprinting times were the two derived measures of RSA. The results indicate that the best 20 m sprint time was the only factor to correlate significantly with total sprinting time (r = 0.829, P < 0.001) and percentage decrement (r = -0.722, P < 0.01). VO2 max and AOD were not related to the total sprinting time or the percentage decrement that was produced by the RSA test. This was interpreted to signify that the phosphagen system was the major energy contributor for this test.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Running / physiology*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen