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Performance and physiological responses during a sprint interval training session

20 February 2012



Performance and physiological responses during a sprint interval training session

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Feb;112(2):767-79. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-2021-1. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Performance and physiological responses during a sprint interval training session: relationships with muscle oxygenation and pulmonary oxygen uptake kinetics.


Physiology Unit, Sport Science Department, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, P.O. Box 22287, Doha, Qatar.


The purpose of this study was to examine the cardiorespiratory and muscle oxygenation responses to a sprint interval training (SIT) session, and to assess their relationships with maximal pulmonary O(2) uptake [Formula: see text], on- and off- [Formula: see text] kinetics and muscle reoxygenation rate (Reoxy rate). Ten male cyclists performed two 6-min moderate-intensity exercises (≈90-95% of lactate threshold power output, Mod), followed 10 min later by a SIT session consisting of 6 × 30-s all out cycling sprints interspersed with 2 min of passive recovery. [Formula: see text] kinetics at Mod onset ([Formula: see text]) and cessation ([Formula: see text]) were calculated. Cardiorespiratory variables, blood lactate ([La](b)) and muscle oxygenation level of the vastus lateralis (tissue oxygenation index, TOI) were recorded during SIT. Percentage of the decline in power output (%Dec), time spent above 90% of [Formula: see text] (t > 90% [Formula: see text]) and Reoxy rate after each sprint were also recorded. Despite a low mean [Formula: see text] (48.0 ± 4.1% of [Formula: see text]), SIT performance was associated with high peak [Formula: see text] (90.4 ± 2.8% of [Formula: see text]), muscle deoxygenation (sprint ΔTOI = -27%) and [La](b) (15.3 ± 0.7 mmol l(-1)) levels. Muscle deoxygenation and Reoxy rate increased throughout sprint repetitions (P < 0.001 for both). Except for t > 90% [Formula: see text] versus [Formula: see text] [r = 0.68 (90% CL, 0.20; 0.90); P = 0.03], there were no significant correlations between any index of aerobic function and either SIT performance or physiological responses [e.g., %Dec vs. [Formula: see text]: r = -0.41 (-0.78; 0.18); P = 0.24]. Present results show that SIT elicits a greater muscle O(2) extraction with successive sprint repetitions, despite the decrease in external power production (%Dec = 21%). Further, our findings obtained in a small and homogenous group indicate that performance and physiological responses to SIT are only slightly influenced by aerobic fitness level in this population.

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