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Br J Sports Med. 2015 Oct;49(19):1253-61. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-094490. Epub 2015 Jun 18.

High-intensity interval training for improving health-related fitness in adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Faculty of Education & Arts, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia Edith Cowan University Health and Wellness Institute, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be a feasible and efficacious strategy for improving health-related fitness in young people. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the utility of HIIT to improve health-related fitness in adolescents and to identify potential moderators of training effects.


Studies were considered eligible if they: (1) examined adolescents (13-18 years); (2) examined health-related fitness outcomes; (3) involved an intervention of ≥4 weeks in duration; (4) included a control or moderate intensity comparison group; and (5) prescribed high-intensity activity for the HIIT condition. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine the effect of HIIT on health-related fitness components using Comprehensive Meta-analysis software and potential moderators were explored (ie, study duration, risk of bias and type of comparison group).


The effects of HIIT on cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition were large, and medium, respectively. Study duration was a moderator for the effect of HIIT on body fat percentage. Intervention effects for waist circumference and muscular fitness were not statistically significant.


HIIT is a feasible and time-efficient approach for improving cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in adolescent populations.


Adolescent; Body composition; Cardiovascular; Physical fitness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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