Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Physiol. 2010 Mar 15;588(Pt 6):1011-22. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms.

Author information

  • 1Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1.


High-intensity interval training (HIT) induces skeletal muscle metabolic and performance adaptations that resemble traditional endurance training despite a low total exercise volume. Most HIT studies have employed 'all out', variable-load exercise interventions (e.g. repeated Wingate tests) that may not be safe, practical and/or well tolerated by certain individuals. Our purpose was to determine the performance, metabolic and molecular adaptations to a more practical model of low-volume HIT. Seven men (21 + or - 0.4 years, V(O2peak) = 46 + or - 2 ml kg(-1) min(-1)) performed six training sessions over 2 weeks. Each session consisted of 8-12 x 60 s intervals at approximately 100% of peak power output elicited during a ramp V(O2) peak test (355 + or - 10 W) separated by 75 s of recovery. Training increased exercise capacity, as assessed by significant improvements on both 50 kJ and 750 kJ cycling time trials (P < 0.05 for both). Skeletal muscle (vastus lateralis) biopsy samples obtained before and after training revealed increased maximal activity of citrate synthase (CS) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) as well as total protein content of CS, COX subunits II and IV, and the mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) (P < 0.05 for all). Nuclear abundance of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator 1alpha (PGC-1alpha) was approximately 25% higher after training (P < 0.05), but total PGC-1alpha protein content remained unchanged. Total SIRT1 content, a proposed activator of PGC-1alpha and mitochondrial biogenesis, was increased by approximately 56% following training (P < 0.05). Training also increased resting muscle glycogen and total GLUT4 protein content (both P < 0.05). This study demonstrates that a practical model of low volume HIT is a potent stimulus for increasing skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity and improving exercise performance. The results also suggest that increases in SIRT1, nuclear PGC-1alpha, and Tfam may be involved in coordinating mitochondrial adaptations in response to HIT in human skeletal muscle.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk