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Comparison of Sprint Interval and Endurance Training in Team Sport Athletes

Kelly, David T.1; Tobin, Críonna2; Egan, Brendan2; McCarren, Andrew3; O'Connor, Paul L.4; McCaffrey, Noel2; Moyna, Niall M.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 11 - p 3051–3058
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002374
Original Research

Kelly, DT, Tobin, C, Egan, B, Carren, AM, O'Connor, PL, McCaffrey, N, and Moyna, NM. Comparison of sprint interval and endurance training in team sport athletes. J Strength Cond Res 32(11): 3051–3058, 2018—High-volume endurance training (ET) has traditionally been used to improve aerobic capacity but is extremely time-consuming in contrast to low-volume short-duration sprint interval training (SIT) that improves maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max) to a similar extent. Few studies have compared the effects of SIT vs. ET using running-based protocols, or in team sport athletes. Club level male Gaelic football players were randomly assigned to SIT (n = 7; 21.6 ± 2.1 years) or ET (n = 8; 21.9 ± 3.5 years) for 6 sessions over 2 weeks. V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, muscle mitochondrial enzyme activity, running economy (RE), and high-intensity endurance capacity (HEC) were measured before and after training. An increase in V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (p ≤ 0.05) after 2 weeks of both SIT and ET was observed. Performance in HEC increased by 31.0 and 17.2% after SIT and ET, respectively (p ≤ 0.05). Running economy assessed at 8, 9, 10, and 11 km·h−1, lactate threshold and vV[Combining Dot Above]O2max were unchanged after both SIT and ET. Maximal activity of 3-β-hydroxylacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (β-HAD) was increased in response to both SIT and ET (p ≤ 0.05), whereas the maximal activity of citrate synthase remained unchanged after training (p = 0.07). A running-based protocol of SIT is a time-efficient training method for improving aerobic capacity and HEC, and maintaining indices of RE and lactate threshold in team sport athletes.

1Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Athlone Institute of Technology, Athlone, Ireland;

2Center for Preventive Medicine, School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland;

3Insight, Dublin City University; and

4Department of Health Sciences, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Address correspondence to Dr. David T. Kelly,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.