Change in VO 2max and time trial performance in response to high-intensity interval training prescribed using ventilatory threshold

Todd A Astorino, Jamie deRevere, Theodore Anderson, Erin Kellogg, Patrick Holstrom, Sebastian Ring, Nicholas Ghaseb
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2018 June 19

Completion of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) leads to significant increases in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max ) and oxidative capacity. However, individual responses to HIIT have been identified as approximately 20-40% of individuals show no change in VO2max , which may be due to the relatively homogeneous approach to implementing HIIT.

PURPOSE: This study tested the effects of HIIT prescribed using ventilatory threshold (VT) on changes in VO2max and cycling performance.

METHODS: Fourteen active men and women (age and VO2max  = 27 ± 8 year and 38 ± 4 mL/kg/min) underwent nine sessions of HIIT, and 14 additional men and women (age and VO2max  = 22 ± 3 year and 40 ± 5 mL/kg/min) served as controls. Training was performed on a cycle ergometer at a work rate equal to 130%VT and consisted of eight to ten 1 min bouts interspersed with 75 s of recovery. At baseline and post-testing, they completed progressive cycling to exhaustion to determine VO2max , and on a separate day, a 5 mile cycling time trial.

RESULTS: Compared to the control group, HIIT led to significant increases in VO2max (6%, p = 0.007), cycling performance (2.5%, p = 0.003), and absolute VT (9 W, p = 0.005). However, only 57% of participants revealed meaningful increases in VO2max and cycling performance in response to training, and two showed no change in either outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: A greater volume of HIIT may be needed to maximize the training response for all individuals.

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