Aerobic performance adaptations to duration equated high intensity versus sprint interval training methods in an athletic population

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University of New Brunswick


High aerobic capacity has been shown to be a key indicator of physical performance in field based athletes. From having the ability to maintain energy production during long duration activities as well as replenishing other metabolic systems, aerobic capacity is a necessity for athletes performing at high levels. This research set out to look at two different training modalities in improving aerobic capacity in an athletic population. Thirteen participants (9 males and 4 females, 22.1 ± 2.5 years; 171.9 ± 10.0 cm; 74.4 ± 11.3 kg) completed six-weeks of aerobic training three times per week in either High-intensity interval training (120% of VO[subscript 2max]) or Sprint interval training (all out). In this study six participants were in the High intensity Interval group and seven were in the Sprint Interval group. Participants completed an aerobic capacity test pre and post training on a high-speed treadmill in which, VO[subscript 2max], percentage of VO[subscript 2max] at Ventilatory Threshold (VT), VO[subscript 2] at VT, and Fast Slope of Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) were all measured used open circuit spirometry. Following six-weeks of training significant Time main effects were observed for VO[subscript 2] at VT (Pre 30.0 +/- 2.4 mL/kg/min, Post 32.4 +/- 3.0 mL/kg/min), and Fast Slope of EPOC Recovery (Pre 21.7 +/- 3.5 mL/kg/min, Post 23.5 +/- 3.8 mL/kg/min), over the six-week training period. Due to a small sample size, interpretation of this data should be made with caution. However, these findings suggest that HIIT and SIT methodologies do not differ in their impact on adaptations to aerobic performance variables over a six week intervention period. More data collection is necessary to allow for more complete interpretation with appropriate statistical power.