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Robert W. Pettitt

The use of personal records (PRs) for running different distances may be used to derive critical speed (CS) and the finite capacity for running speeds exceeding CS (D′). Using CS and D′, individualized speed-time and distance-time relationships can be modeled (ie, time limits associated with running at a given speed or a given distance can be derived via linear regression with a high degree of accuracy). The running 3-min all-out exercise test (3 MT) has emerged as a method for estimating CS and D′ on a large group of athletes in a single visit. Such a procedure is useful when PRs are not readily available (eg, team-sport athletes). This article reviews how to administer and interpret the running 3 MT, how CS and D′ can inform racing strategy, and how CS and D′ can be used to prescribe and evaluate high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Directions for deriving HIIT bouts using either fixed distances or fixed speeds are provided along with CS dose-responses to short-term HIIT programs.

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Matthew W. Driller, James W. Fell, John R. Gregory, Cecilia M. Shing and Andrew D. Williams

Purpose:

Several recent studies have reported substantial performance and physiological gains in well-trained endurance runners, swimmers, and cyclists following a period of high-intensity interval training (HIT). The aim of the current study was to compare traditional rowing training (CT) to HIT in well-trained rowers.

Methods:

Subjects included 5 male and 5 female rowers (mean ± SD; age = 19 ± 2 y; height = 176 ± 8 cm; mass = 73.7 ± 9.8 kg; Vo2peak = 4.37 ± 1.08 L·min−1). Baseline testing included a 2000-m time trial and a maximal exercise test to determine Vo2peak, 4-min all-out power, and 4 mmol·L−1 blood lactate threshold. Following baseline testing, rowers were randomly allocated to HIT or CT, which they performed seven times over a 4-wk period. The HIT involved 8 × 2.5-min intervals at 90% of the velocity maintained at Vo2peak, with individual recoveries returning to 70% of the subjects’ maximal heart rate between intervals. The CT intensity consisted of workloads corresponding to 2 and 3 mmol·L−1 blood lactate concentrations. On completion of HIT or CT, rowers repeated the testing performed at baseline and were then allocated to the alternative training program and completed a crossover trial.

Results:

HIT produced greater improvements in 2000-m time (1.9 ± 0.9%; mean ± SD), 2000-m power (5.8 ± 3.0%), and relative Vo2peak (7.0 ± 6.4%) than CT.

Conclusion:

Four weeks of HIT improves 2000-m time-trial performance and relative Vo2peak in competitive rowers, more than a traditional approach.

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Dietmar Wallner, Helmut Simi, Gerhard Tschakert and Peter Hofmann

Purpose:

To analyze the acute physiological response to aerobic short-interval training (AESIT) at various high-intensity running speeds. A minor anaerobic glycolytic energy supply was aimed to mimic the characteristics of slow continuous runs.

Methods:

Eight trained male runners (maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max] 55.5 ± 3.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1) performed an incremental treadmill exercise test (increments: 0.75 km · h−1 · min−1). Two lactate turn points (LTP1, LTP2) were determined. Subsequently, 3 randomly assigned AESIT sessions with high-intensity running-speed intervals were performed at speeds close to the speed (v) at VO2max (vVO2max) to create mean intensities of 50%, 55%, and 60% of vLTP1. AESIT sessions lasted 30 min and consisted of 10-s work phases, alternated by 20-s passive recovery phases.

Results:

To produce mean velocities of 50%, 55%, and 60% of vLTP1, running speeds were calculated as 18.6 ± 0.7 km/h (93.4% vVO2max), 20.2 ± 0.6 km/h (101.9% vVO2max), and 22.3 ± 0.7 km/h (111.0% vVO2max), which gave a mean blood lactate concentration (La) of 1.09 ± 0.31 mmol/L, 1.57 ± 0.52 mmol/L, and 2.09 ± 0.99 mmol/L, respectively. La at 50% of vLTP1 was not significantly different from La at vLTP1 (P = .8894). Mean VO2 was found at 54.0%, 58.5%, and 64.0% of VO2max, while at the end of the sessions VO2 rose to 71.1%, 80.4%, and 85.6% of VO2max, respectively.

Conclusion:

The results showed that AESIT with 10-s work phases alternating with 20 s of passive rest and a running speed close to vVO2max gave a systemic aerobic metabolic profile similar to slow continuous runs.

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Matthew W. Driller, John R. Gregory, Andrew D. Williams and James W. Fell

Recent research has reported performance improvements after chronic NaHCO3 ingestion in conjunction with high-intensity interval training (HIT) in moderately trained athletes. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of altering plasma H+ concentration during HIT through NaHCO3 ingestion over 4 wk (2 HIT sessions/wk) in 12 Australian representative rowers (M ± SD; age 22 ± 3 yr, mass 76.4 ± 4.2 kg, VO2peak 65.50 ± 2.74 ml · kg−1 · min−1). Baseline testing included a 2,000-m time trial and an incremental exercise test. After baseline testing, rowers were allocated to either a chronic NaHCO3 (ALK) or placebo (PLA) group. Starting 90 min before each HIT session, subjects ingested a 0.3-g/kg body mass dose of NaHCO3 or a placebo substance. Fingertip blood samples were taken throughout the study to analyze bicarbonate and pH levels. The ALK group did not produce any additional improvements in 2,000-m rowing performance time compared with PLA (p > .05). Magnitude-based inferential analysis indicated an unclear or trivial effect on 2,000-m power, 2,000-m time, peak power output, and power at 4 mmol/L lactate threshold in the ALK group compared with the PLA group. Although there was no difference between groups, during the study there was a significant mean (± SD) 2,000-m power improvement in both the ALK and PLA groups of 17.8 ± 14.5 and 15.2 ± 18.3 W, respectively. In conclusion, despite overall improvements in rowing performance after 4 wk of HIT, the addition of chronic NaHCO3 supplementation during the training period did not significantly enhance performance further.

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Ana Sousa, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Pedro Figueiredo

Purpose:

To establish appropriate work intensity for interval training that would elicit maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for well-trained swimmers.

Methods:

Twelve male competitive swimmers completed an incremental protocol to determine the minimum velocity at VO2max (νVO2max) and, in randomized order, 3 square-wave exercises from rest to 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max. Temporal aspects of the VO2 response were examined in these latter.

Results:

Swimming at 105% of νVO2max took less (P < .04) absolute time to achieve 90%, 95%, and 100% of VO2max intensities (35.0 ± 7.7, 58.3 ± 15.9, 58.3 ± 19.3 s) compared with 95% (72.1 ± 34.3, 106.7 ± 43.9, 151.1 ± 52.4 s) and 100% (55.8 ± 24.5, 84.2 ± 35.4, 95.6 ± 29.8 s) of VO2max. However, swimming at 95% of νVO2max resulted in longer absolute time (P < .001) at or above the desired intensities (90%: 268.3 ± 72.5 s; 95%: 233.8 ± 74.3 s; 100%: 173.6 ± 78.2 s) and more relative time at or above 95% of VO2max than 105% of νVO2max (68.6% ± 13.5% vs 55.3% ± 11.5%, P < .03), and at or above 100% of VO2max than 100% and 105% of νVO2max (52.7% ± 16.3% vs 28.2% ± 10.5% and 34.0% ± 11.3%, P < .001). At 60 s of effort, swimmers achieved 85.8% ± 11.2%, 88.3% ± 5.9%, and 94.7% ± 5.5% of the VO2max when swimming at 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max, respectively.

Conclusions:

When training to elicit VO2max, using higher swimming intensities will promote a faster VO2 response but a shorter time spent above these intensities. However, lower intensities allow maintaining the desired response for a longer period of time. Moreover, using the 60-s time period seem to be a more adequate stimulus than shorter ones (~30-s), especially when performed at 105% of νVO2max intensity.

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Helen G. Hanstock, Andrew D. Govus, Thomas B. Stenqvist, Anna K. Melin, Øystein Sylta and Monica K. Torstveit

HIT (4 × 4 min) , despite lower heart rates (HRs), blood lactate concentrations, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and a less pronounced steroid hormone response. 3 However, it is unclear how different interval training prescriptions influence athletes’ health and immune status. Training

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Eric C. Freese, Rachelle M. Acitelli, Nicholas H. Gist, Kirk J. Cureton, Ellen M. Evans and Patrick J. O’Connor

The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether 6 weeks of sprint interval training (SIT) is associated with changes in mood and perceived health in women at risk for developing metabolic syndrome (MetS). Physically inactive women (30–65 years) were randomized to 6 weeks of nutrition meetings and SIT (n = 23; 3 bouts/week of 4–8 30-s cycle sprints with 4-min recovery) or a nonexercise control condition (CON; n = 24). Before and after the 6-week intervention, perceived health status and mood were assessed. Clinically relevant increases in role-physical scores (ES = 0.64) and vitality (ES = 0.52) were found after 6 weeks of SIT compared with a nonexercise control group. For middle-aged women at risk for MetS, it is concluded that high-intensity, low-volume SIT (1) increases feelings of vitality and perceptions of having fewer physical limitations and (2) does not induce mood disturbances as occurs with high-volume, high-intensity training.

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Nic Martinez, Marcus W. Kilpatrick, Kristen Salomon, Mary E. Jung and Jonathan P. Little

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has many known physiological benefits, but research investigating the psychological aspects of this training is limited. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the affective and enjoyment responses to continuous and high-intensity interval exercise sessions. Twenty overweight-to-obese, insufficiently active adults completed four counterbalanced trials: a 20-min trial of heavy continuous exercise and three 24-min HIIT trials that used 30-s, 60-s, and 120-s intervals. Affect declined during all trials (p < .05), but affect at the completion of trials was more positive in the shorter interval trials (p < .05). Enjoyment declined in the 120-s interval and heavy continuous conditions only (p < .05). Postexercise enjoyment was higher in the 60-s trial than in the 120-s trial and heavy continuous condition (p < .05). Findings suggest that pleasure and enjoyment are higher during shorter interval trials than during a longer interval or heavy continuous exercise.

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Martin Buchheit, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Marc Quod, Thomas Quesnel and Said Ahmaidi

Purpose:

The aim of the current study was to compare the effects of speed/agility (S/A) training with sprint interval training (SIT) on acceleration and repeated sprint ability (RSA) in well-trained male handball players.

Methods:

In addition to their normal training program, players performed either S/A (n = 7) or SIT (n = 7) training for 4 wk. Speed/agility sessions consisted of 3 to 4 series of 4 to 6 exercises (eg, agility drills, standing start and very short sprints, all of <5 s duration); each repetition and series was interspersed with 30 s and 3 min of passive recovery, respectively. Sprint interval training consisted of 3 to 5 repetitions of 30-s all-out shuttle sprints over 40 m, interspersed with 2 min of passive recovery. Pre- and posttests included a countermovement jump (CMJ), 10-m sprint (10m), RSA test and a graded intermittent aerobic test (30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test, VIFT).

Results:

S/A training produced a very likely greater improvement in 10-m sprint (+4.6%, 90% CL 1.2 to 7.8), best (+2.7%, 90% CL 0.1 to 5.2) and mean (+2.2%, 90% CL –0.2 to 4.5) RSA times than SIT (all effect sizes [ES] greater than 0.79). In contrast, SIT resulted in an almost certain greater improvement in VIFT compared with S/A (+5.2%, 90% CL 3.5 to 6.9, with ES = –0.83).

Conclusion:

In well-trained handball players, 4 wk of SIT is likely to have a moderate impact on intermittent endurance capacity only, whereas S/A training is likely to improve acceleration and repeated sprint performance.

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Tom W. Macpherson and Matthew Weston

Purpose:

To examine the effect of low-volume sprint interval training (SIT) on the development (part 1) and subsequent maintenance (part 2) of aerobic fitness in soccer players.

Methods:

In part 1, 23 players from the same semiprofessional team participated in a 2-wk SIT intervention (SIT, n = 14, age 25 ± 4 y, weight 77 ± 8 kg; control, n = 9, age 27 ± 6 y, weight 72 ± 10 kg). The SIT group performed 6 training sessions of 4–6 maximal 30-s sprints, in replacement of regular aerobic training. The control group continued with their regular training. After this 2-wk intervention, the SIT group was allocated to either intervention (n = 7, 1 SIT session/wk as replacement of regular aerobic training) or control (n = 7, regular aerobic training with no SIT sessions) for a 5-wk period (part 2). Pre and post measures were the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YYIRL1) and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

Results:

In part 1, the 2-week SIT intervention had a small beneficial effect on YYIRL1 (17%; 90% confidence limits ±11%), and VO2max (3.1%; ±5.0%) compared with control. In part 2, 1 SIT session/wk for 5 wk had a small beneficial effect on VO2max (4.2%; ±3.0%), with an unclear effect on YYIRL1 (8%; ±16%).

Conclusion:

Two weeks of SIT elicits small improvements in soccer players’ high-intensity intermittent-running performance and VO2max, therefore representing a worthwhile replacement of regular aerobic training. The effectiveness of SIT for maintaining SIT-induced improvements in high-intensity intermittent running requires further research.