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J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Jun;9(3):249-55. Epub 2006 May 9.

Effects of high-intensity interval training on the VO2 response during severe exercise.

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School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.


This study examined the effect of high-intensity interval training on the VO2 response during severe, constant-load exercise. Prior to, and following training, 10 females (V O2 peak 37.4+/-6.0 mL kg-1 min-1) performed a graded exercise test to determine VO2 peak and lactate threshold (LT) and a 6 min cycle test (CT) at the pre-training VO2 peak intensity. Training involved high-intensity intervals (2 min work, 1 min rest) performed 3x week for 8 weeks. Breath-by-breath data from 0 to 6 min during the CT were smoothed using 5s averages and fit to a bi-exponential model starting from 20s. Training resulted in significant improvements in VO2 max (2.34+/-0.37-2.78+/-0.30 L min-1), power at VO2 max (170+/-26-204+/-25 W) and power at LT (113+/-17-136+/-20 W) (p<0.05). Following training, the VO2 response showed a significant increase in the amplitude of the primary phase (A1) (1396+/-103-1695+/-100 mL min-1; p<0.05) and end-exercise VO2 (VO2 EE), with no difference (p>0.05) in the time constants of either phase or the amplitude of the slow component (318+/-67-380+/-48 mL; p=0.15). In conjunction, accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD) (43.7+/-9.8-17.2+/-2.8 mL O2 eq kg-1) and anaerobic contribution to the CT (19.4+/-4.4-7.2+/-1.2%) were significantly reduced. In contrast to previous moderate-intensity research, a high-intensity interval training program increased A1 and VO2 EE for the same absolute exercise intensity, decreasing the AOD during a severe-intensity CT.

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