The primary aim of the study was to establish a link between aerobic adaptation and both the recovery from maximal short duration exercise, and the ability to maintain power output in a subsequent bout. The question as to whether the aerobic adaptations facilitating recovery are centrally or peripherally located was also examined. Male university level rugby and soccer players (n=20) volunteered for the study. Mean (SD) age, mass and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) was 21.9 (1.8) years, 84.7 (12.7) kg and 52.7 (6.9) ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) respectively. Subjects completed six 15s maximal intensity sprints (90s active recovery) on a Monark friction braked cycle ergometer. A significant relationship (r=-.49, P=0.03) was obtained between VO2 max (mL x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and the percent drop-off in mean power in bouts 5 and 6 compared with bout 1. A correlation of r=-.62 (P=0.002) was obtained between VO2 max (mL x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and the percent drop off in peak power in bouts 5 and 6 compared with bout 1. A significant correlation was obtained between arterial venous oxygen difference and the drop in mean power (r=-.54, P=0.02) but not with the drop in peak power (r=-.22, P=.36). There was no significant relationship between cardiac output and the drop in mean power (r=-.16, P=.51) or the drop in peak power (r=-.02, P=.94). Percent drop-off in oxygen consumption, when compared with the first, in the second (RVO2(30-60)), third (RVO2(60-90)), fourth (RVO2(90-120)) and fifth (RVO2(120-150)) 30s time periods of recovery following the intermittent protocol was calculated. Correlations between VO2 max (ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and these variables were (r=.51, P=-0.03), (r=.44, P=0.06), (r=.63, P=-0.003) and (r=.6, P=0.007) respectively. Consequently it was concluded that maximal oxygen uptake particularly the peripheral component, is an important determinant of the ability to perform intermittent exercise of this nature and to recover between bouts.