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Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients with CAD


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 8 - p 1436–1442
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31828bbbd4
Clinical Sciences

Purpose Isocaloric interval exercise training programs have been shown to elicit improvements in numerous physiological indices in patients with CAD. Low-volume high-intensity interval exercise training (HIT) is effective in healthy populations; however, its effectiveness in cardiac rehabilitation has not been established. This study compared the effects of 12-wk of HIT and higher-volume moderate-intensity endurance exercise (END) on brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and cardiorespiratory fitness (V˙O2peak) in patients with CAD.

Methods Twenty-two patients with documented CAD were randomized into HIT (n = 11) or END (n = 11) based on pretraining FMD. Both groups attended two supervised sessions per week for 12 wk. END performed 30–50 min of continuous cycling at 58% peak power output (PPO), whereas HIT performed ten 1-min intervals at 89% PPO separated by 1-min intervals at 10% PPO per session.

Results Relative FMD was increased posttraining (END, 4.4% ± 2.6% vs 5.9% ± 3.6%; HIT, 4.6% ± 3.6% vs 6.1% ± 3.4%, P ≤ 0.001 pre- vs posttraining) with no differences between groups. A training effect was also observed for relative V˙O2peak (END, 18.7 ± 5.7 vs 22.3 ± 6.1 mL·kg−1·min−1; HIT, 19.8 ± 3.7 vs 24.5 ± 4.5 mL·kg−1·min−1, P < 0.001 for pre- vs posttraining), with no group differences.

Conclusions Low-volume HIT provides an alternative to the current, more time-intensive prescription for cardiac rehabilitation. HIT elicited similar improvements in fitness and FMD as END, despite differences in exercise duration and intensity.

1Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA; 2Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA; and 3Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Maureen MacDonald, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4K1; E-mail:

Submitted for publication August 2012.

Accepted for publication February 2013.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine