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Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Feb;96(6):e6040. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006040.

One session of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) every 5 days, improves muscle power but not static balance in lifelong sedentary ageing men: A randomized controlled trial.

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aInstitute of Clinical Exercise & Health Sciences, School of Science and Sport, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK bUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint David, Camarthen Campus, Camarthen, Wales, UK cFaculty of Health, Federation University Australia, Mt Helen Campus, Mt Helen, Victoria, Australia.



Declining muscle power during advancing age predicts falls and loss of independence. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may improve muscle power, but remains largely unstudied in ageing participants.


This randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigated the efficacy of a low-frequency HIIT (LfHIIT) intervention on peak muscle power (peak power output [PPO]), body composition, and balance in lifelong sedentary but otherwise healthy males.


Thirty-three lifelong sedentary ageing men were randomly assigned to either intervention (INT; n = 22, age 62.3 ± 4.1 years) or control (n = 11, age 61.6 ± 5.0 years) who were both assessed at 3 distinct measurement points (phase A), after 6 weeks of conditioning exercise (phase B), and after 6 weeks of HIIT once every 5 days in INT (phase C), where control remained inactive throughout the study.


Static balance remained unaffected, and both absolute and relative PPO were not different between groups at phases A or B, but increased significantly in INT after LfHIIT (P < 0.01). Lean body mass displayed a significant interaction (P < 0.01) due to an increase in INT between phases B and C (P < 0.05).


6 weeks of LfHIIT exercise feasible and effective method to induce clinically relevant improvements in absolute and relative PPO, but does not improve static balance in sedentary ageing men.

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