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High-Intensity Interval Training Improves Left Ventricular Contractile Function


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 7 - p 1420–1428
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001931

Introduction Improved myocardial contractility is a critical circulatory adaptation to exercise training. However, the types of exercise that enhance left ventricular (LV) contractile and diastolic functions have not yet been established. This study investigated how high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) influence LV mechanics during exercise.

Methods Fifty-four healthy sedentary men were randomized to engage in either HIIT (3-min intervals at 40% and 80% of V˙O2max, n = 18) or MICT (sustained 60% of V˙O2max, n = 18) for 30 min·d−1, 5 d·wk−1 for 6 wk or to a control group (n = 18) that did not engage in exercise intervention. LV mechanics during semiupright bicycle exercise tests were measured by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography.

Results Before the interventions, acute bicycle exercise increased (i) peak basal/apical radial and circumferential and peak longitudinal strains and strain rates, (ii) peak basal/apical rotations and torsion, and (iii) peak systolic twisting and early diastolic untwisting velocities in the LV. After the interventions, the HIIT group exhibited greater LV mass and diastolic internal diameter as well as higher ratio of E wave to A wave and early diastolic propagation velocity than did the MICT group. Despite decreased peak apical rotation and torsion, HIIT enhanced peak apical radial strain and strain rate as well as shortened the time to reach peak untwisting velocity in the LV during exercise. However, the LV mechanics during exercise were unchanged in the control group.

Conclusion HIIT but not MICT induces eccentric myocardial hypertrophy. Moreover, HIIT effectively improves the LV mechanics during exercise by increasing contractile and diastolic functions.

1Healthy Aging Research Center, Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, Medical Collage, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, TAIWAN;

2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, TAIWAN; and

3Heart Failure Center, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, TAIWAN

Address for correspondence: Jong-Shyan Wang, Ph.D., Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, Chang Gung University, 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2018.

Accepted for publication February 2019.

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Online date: March 4, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine