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Modified sprint interval training protocols: physiological and psychological responses to 4 weeks of training

McKie, Greg L., Islam, Hashim, Townsend, Logan K., Robertson-Wilson, Jennifer, Eys, Mark, Hazell, Tom J.
Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism 2018 v.43 no.6 pp. 595-601
exercise, females, males, peak oxygen uptake, running (physical activity), self-efficacy
Sprint interval training (SIT) protocols involving brief (≤15 s) work bouts improve aerobic and anaerobic performance, highlighting peak speed generation as a potentially important adaptive stimulus. To determine the physiological and psychological effects of reducing the SIT work bout duration, while maintaining total exercise and recovery time, 43 healthy males (n = 27) and females (n = 16) trained for 4 weeks (3 times/week) using one of the following running SIT protocols: (i) 30:240 (n = 11; 4–6 × 30-s bouts, 4 min rest); (ii) 15:120 (n = 11; 8–12 × 15-s bouts, 2 min rest); (iii) 5:40 (n = 12; 24–36 × 5-s bouts, 40 s rest); or (iv) served as a nonexercising control (n = 9). Protocols were matched for total work (2–3 min) and rest (16–24 min) durations, as well as the work-to-rest ratio (1:8 s). Pre- and post-training measures included a graded maximal oxygen consumption test, a 5-km time trial, and a 30-s maximal sprint test. Self-efficacy, enjoyment, and intentions were assessed following the last training session. Training improved maximal oxygen consumption (5.5%; P = 0.006) and time-trial performance (5.2%; P = 0.039), with a main effect of time for peak speed (1.7%; P = 0.042), time to peak speed (25%; P < 0.001), and body fat percentage (1.4%; P < 0.001) that appeared to be driven by the training. There were no group effects for self-efficacy (P = 0.926), enjoyment (P = 0.249), or intentions to perform SIT 3 (P = 0.533) or 5 (P = 0.951) times/week. This study effectively demonstrated that the repeated generation of peak speed during brief SIT work bouts sufficiently stimulates adaptive mechanisms promoting increases in aerobic and anaerobic capacity.