Rate and amplitude of adaptation to intermittent and continuous exercise in older men


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - pp 471-477
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

MORRIS, N., G. GASS, M. THOMPSON, G. BENNETT, D. BASIC, and H. MORTON. Rate and amplitude of adaptation to intermittent and continuous exercise in older men. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 471–477, 2002.

Purpose: This study determined the amplitude and rate of adaptation to 10 wk of continuous (CEx) and intermittent exercise (IEx) in a group of older men when the training intensity and total amount of work completed by each exercise group were the same.

Methods: Ten healthy men were assigned to either a CEx (63 ± 1 yr) or IEx (65 ± 1 yr) group while a further five subjects (65 ± 1 yr) acted as nonexercising controls (CON). The three groups (CEx, IEx, and CON) were matched for age, peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak), and cardiac output (Q̇peak) before commencing training. The CEx group trained for 30 min at an intensity corresponding to 70–75% V̇O2peak, and the IEx group trained for a total exercise time of 30 min using intermittent exercise (60-s exercise, 60-s rest) at the same absolute intensity as the CEx group (CEx 112 ± 5W; IEx 112 ± 5W). The exercise groups trained three times per week and completed a similar amount of work during each training session (CEx, 199 ± 9 kJ; IEx 195 ± 9 kJ, P = 0.67).

Results: The CEx and IEx groups had similar and significant amplitude increases in peak V̇O2, ventilation (V̇Epeak), power, Q̇, and SV after training. Peak V̇O2, Q̇peak, SVpeak, and peak arteriovenous O2 difference for the CON group were unchanged. The change in V̇O2peak, peak ventilation, and peak power for CEx and IEx groups were best described by a linear model. Moreover, the CEx and IEx groups had the same rate of change in V̇O2peak (CEx: 0.02 ± 0.00 L·min−1·wk−1, IEx: 0.02 ± 0.00 L·min−1·wk−1, P = 0.32), V̇Epeak (CEx: 2.0 ± 0.2 L·min−1·wk−1, IEx: 1.2 ± 0.5 L·min−1·wk−1, P = 0.10), and peak power (CEx: 2.6 ± 0.4 W·wk−1, IEx: 2.6 ± 0.4 W·wk−1, P = 0.92).

Conclusion: These results suggest that the amplitude and rate of change of select adaptations in men aged 60–70 yr are independent of the mode of training (i.e., continuous or intermittent exercise) when the absolute training intensity and the total amount of work completed were similar.

School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Griffith University, Queensland 9726, AUSTRALIA; School of Exercise and Sports Science, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe 2141, Sydney, AUSTRALIA; Medical Division, Nepean Hospital, Penrith 2750, AUSTRALIA; Department of Geriatric Medicine and Rehabilitation, Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool 2170, AUSTRALIA; and Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Palmerston North, NEW ZEALAND

Submitted for publication November 2000.

Accepted for publication June 2001.

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine