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Effects of a Low-Volume Aerobic-Type Interval Exercise on V˙O2max and Cardiac Mass


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - p 42–50
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a38da8
Basic Sciences

Purpose The aim of this study was to compare the effects of time-efficient, low-volume interval exercises on cardiorespiratory capacity and left ventricular (LV) mass with traditional continuous exercise in sedentary adults.

Methods Forty-two healthy but sedentary male subjects (age 26.5 ± 6.2 yr) participated in an 8-wk, five times per week, supervised exercise intervention. They were randomly assigned to one of three exercise protocols: sprint interval training (SIT, 5 min, 100 kcal), high-intensity interval aerobic training (HIAT, 13 min, 180 kcal), and continuous aerobic training (CAT, 40 min, 360 kcal). Cardiorespiratory capacity (V˙O2max) and LV mass (3T-MRI) were measured preintervention and postintervention.

Results We observed significant (P < 0.01) increases in V˙O2max in all three groups, and the effect of the HIAT was the greatest of the three (SIT, 16.7% ± 11.6%; HIAT, 22.5% ± 12.2%; CAT, 10.0% ± 8.9%; P = 0.01). There were significant changes in LV mass, stroke volume (SV), and resting HR in both the SIT (LV mass, 6.5% ± 8.3%; SV, 5.3% ± 8.3%; HR, −7.3% ± 11.1%; all P < 0.05) and HIAT (LV mass, 8.0% ± 8.3%; SV, 12.1% ± 9.8%; HR, −12.7% ± 12.2%; all P < 0.01) but not in the CAT (LV mass, 2.5% ± 10.1%; SV, 3.6% ± 6.6%; HR, −2.2% ± 13.3%; all P > 0.05).

Conclusions Our study revealed that V˙O2max improvement with the HIAT was greater than with the CAT despite the HIAT being performed with a far lower volume and in far less time than the CAT. This suggests that the HIAT has potential as a time-efficient training mode to improve V˙O2max in sedentary adults.

1Space Biomedical Research Office, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tokyo, JAPAN; 2Hazard Evaluation and Epidemiology Research Group, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Kawasaki, JAPAN; 3Center for Cybernics Research, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, JAPAN; 4Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, JAPAN; and 5Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, JAPAN

Address for correspondence: Tomoaki Matsuo, Ph.D., Hazard Evaluation and Epidemiology Research Group, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 6-21-1, Nagao, Tama-ku, Kawasaki, 214-8585, Japan; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2013.

Accepted for publication July 2013.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine