We compared the effects of two 6-week high-intensity interval training interventions. Under the control condition (CON), only interval training was undertaken, whilst under the intervention condition (ICT), interval training sessions were followed immediately by core training, which was combined with simultaneous inspiratory muscle training - 'functional' IMT. Sixteen recreational runners were allocated to either ICT or CON groups. Prior to the intervention phase, both groups undertook a 4-week programme of 'foundation' IMT to control for the known ergogenic effect of IMT [30 inspiratory efforts at 50% maximal static inspiratory pressure (P0) per set, 2 sets.d-1, 6 d.wk-1]. The subsequent 6-week interval running training phase, consisted of 3-4 sessions.wk-1. In addition, the ICT group undertook four inspiratory-loaded core exercises [10 repetitions.set-1, 2 sets.d-1, inspiratory load set at 50% post-IMT P0] immediately after each interval training session. The CON group received neither core training nor functional IMT. Following the intervention phase, global inspiratory and core muscle functions increased in both groups (P<0.05), as evidenced by P0 and a sport-specific endurance plank test performance (SEPT), respectively. Compared to CON, the ICT group showed larger improvements in SEPT, running economy at the speed of the OBLA, and 1-hr running performance (3.04% vs 1.57%, P<0.05). The changes in these variables were inter-individually correlated (r>=0.57, n=16, P<0.05). Such findings suggest that the addition of inspiratory-loaded core conditioning into a high-intensity interval training program augments the influence of the interval program upon endurance running performance, and that this may be underpinned by an improvement in running economy.
Copyright (C) 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.