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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 December;59(12):1937-43

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09521-5

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Intensity-dependence of exercise and active recovery in high-intensity interval training

Ole J. KEMI , Ewan FOWLER, Karen MCGLYNN, Deborah PRIMROSE, Rachel SMIRTHWAITE, John WILSON

School of Life Sciences and Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK



BACKGROUND: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) with interspersing active recovery is an effective mode of exercise training in cohorts ranging from athletes to patients. Here, we assessed the intensity-dependence of the intervals and active recovery bouts for permitting a sustainable HIIT protocol.
METHODS: Fourteen males completed 4x4-minute HIIT protocols where intensities of intervals ranged 80-100% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and active recovery ranged 60-100% of lactate (La-) threshold (LT). Blood La- measurements indicated fatigue, while tolerable duration of intervals indicated sustainability.
RESULTS: HIIT at 100% of VO2max allowed 44±10% [30-70%] completion, i.e. fatigue occurred after 7minutes:6seconds of the intended 16 minutes of high intensity, whereas HIIT at 95-80% of VO2max was 100% sustainable (P<0.01). Measured intensity did not differ from intended intensity across the protocols (P>0.05). Blood La- concentration [La-] increased to 9.3±1.4mM during HIIT at 100% of VO2max, whereas at 80-95% of VO2max stabilized at 2-6mM in an intensity-dependent manner (P<0.01 vs. 100% of VO2max and P<0.05 vs. baseline). Active recovery at 60-70% of LT during HIIT associated with steady-state blood [La-] peaking at 6-7mM, whereas at 80-100% of LT, blood [La-] accumulated to 10-13mM (P<0.05). After HIIT, active recovery at 80-90% of LT cleared blood [La-] 90% faster than at 60-70% of LT (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: To permit highest exercise stress during 4x4-minute HIIT, exercise intensity should be set to 95% of VO2max, whereas active recovery should be set to 60-70% of LT during HIIT and 80-90% of LT after HIIT to most efficiently prevent excess La- and aid recovery.


KEY WORDS: High-intensity interval training; Endurance training; Fatigue

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