Upper and lower body responses to repeated cyclical sprints

Israel Halperin, Brandon W. Collins, Michael Monks, Chris T. Compton, Joseph D. Yetman, Angela Loucks-Atkinson, Fabien Basset, Duane C. Button

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To compare the physiological and perceptual responses of the upper and lower body to all-out cyclical sprints with short or long rest periods between sprints. Methods: Ten recreationally trained males completed four 10 × 10 s sprint protocols in a randomized order: upper body with 30 s and 180 s of rest between sprints, and lower body with 30 s and 180 s of rest between sprints. Additionally, maximum voluntary contractions (MVC) were measured at pre-sprint and post-sprints 5 and 10. Normalized (% of first sprint) peak power, MVC, heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were compared between upper and lower body within the same recovery period, and absolute values (Watts, bpm, RPE scores) were compared within the same body part and between recovery periods. Results: Trivial differences were identified in normalized peak power, HR and RPE values between the upper and lower body in both recovery conditions (<2%, d ≤ 0.1), but MVC forces were better maintained with the upper body (∼9.5%, d = 1.0) in both recovery conditions. Absolute peak power was lower (∼147 Watts, d = 1.3), and HR was higher (∼10 bpm, d = 0.73) in the 30 s compared to 180 s condition in both the upper and lower body whereas RPE scores were similar (<0.6 RPE units, d ≤ 0.1). Despite the reductions in peak power, MVC forces were better maintained in the 30 s condition in both upper (2.5 kg, d = 0.4) and lower (7.5 kg, d = 0.7) body. Conclusions: Completing a commonly used repeated sprint protocol with the upper and lower body results in comparable normalized physiological and perceptual responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1003
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • fatigue
  • performance
  • physiology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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