Thebault, N, Leger, LA, and Passelergue, P.
Repeated-sprint ability and aerobic fitness.
J Strength Cond Res 25(X): 000-000, 2011.
The purpose of this study was to reinvestigate the relationship between aerobic fitness and fatigue indices of repeated-sprint ability (RSA), with special attention to methodological normalization. Soldiers were divided into low (n = 10) and high (n = 9) fitness groups according to a preset maximal aerobic speed (MAS) of 17 km[middle dot]h-1 (~60 ml O2[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1) measured with the University of Montreal Track Test (UMTT). Subjects’ assessment included the RSA test (3 sets of 5 40-m sprints with 1-minute rest between sprints and 1.5 minutes between sets), a 40-m sprint (criterion test used in the computation of fatigue indices for the RSA test), strength and power measurement of the lower limbs, and the 20-m shuttle run test (20-m SRT) and the UMTT, which are measures of maximal aerobic power. The highest correlation with the RSA fatigue indices was obtained with the 20-m SRT (r = 0.90, p = 0.0001, n = 19), a test with 180[degrees] direction changes and accelerations and decelerations. The lower correlation (r = 0.66, p < 0.01, n = 19) with the UMTT (continuous forward running) suggests that some aerobic tests better disclose the importance of aerobic fitness for RSA and that aerobic power is not the sole determinant of RSA. However, neither strength nor vertical jumping power was correlated to the RSA fatigue indices. Subjects with greater MAS were able to maintain almost constant level of speed throughout series of repeated sprints and achieved better recovery between series. A MAS of at least 17 km[middle dot]h-1 favors constant and high speed level during repeated sprints. From a practical point of view, a high aerobic fitness is a precious asset in counteracting fatigue in sports with numerous sprint repetitions.