A meta-analysis of the literature demonstrates that Sprint
Interval Training (SIT) can increase VO2 max by 4.2-13.4%. Adaptations
following SIT are primarily peripheral, increase the oxidative
potential of the muscle. (Sloth 2013)
Burgomaster et al (2003) reported 6 sessions
SIT over 2 weeks dramatically improved cycle endurance capacity
in recreationally trained men and women. During cycling at 80%
of VO2max, average time to exhaustion increased from approximately
25 minutes to 51 minutes (~101%)!
Hughes et al (2004) demonstrated 6 sessions of SIT over a
2 week period increased muscle oxidative capacity and altered
muscle glycogen metabolism in recreationally active young men.
SIT decreased the time required to complete a fixed amount of
work (10.4%), increased resting muscle glycogen by 53%, and appeared
to decrease reliance on non-oxidative energy metabolism. SIT
consisted of 4 to 7 "all out" 30 second Wingate tests,
separated by 4 minutes of recovery.
Trembblay et al (1994) compared aerobic versus sprint exercise
on the cycle ergometer (see HIIT).
The sprint group lost over 3 times as much body fat as the aerobic
group despite of only expending less than half as many calories
It was recognized that creatine
phosphate recovery can take about 4 minutes between maximal
sprints (McCartney 1986). Bogdanis (1995) reported after a 30
second cycle ergometer sprint, PCr resynthesis reached 64% of
pre-exercise levels after 90 seconds rest and 85% of pre-exercise
levels after 6 minutes rest. Full PCr repletion may take longer
after repeated sprints than following a single sprint.
Trebblay used a passive recovery between sprint bouts, resting
until heart rate returned to 120 to 130 bpm. Yet, active recovery
hastens local lactate clearance (Corder 2000) and provides superior
performance to passive rest in repeated short-term, high intensity
cycling sprint bouts (Signorile 1993).
SIT, or HIIT, not to be confused with traditional
interval training is an advanced technique to be used only
after at least 6 weeks of a general conditioning program. Here
are guidelines and ideas for beginning SIT program and other
ways to incorporate this sort of training into your routine:
Parents with small children can perform HIIT while pushing
a stroller or pulling a wagon. The kids love it and will encourage
you to do it regularly!
Sports training: Training mode should be very similar
to the sport activity (eg runners should sprint, cyclers should
cycle hills, etc.)
Fat loss: Exercises that utilize the largest muscles
(Glutes and Quads) may have greatest potential in increasing
post exercise metabolism.
Bogdanis GC, Nevill ME, Boobis LH, Lakomy HK, Nevill AM
(1995). Recovery of power output and muscle metabolites following
30 s of maximal sprint cycling in man. J Physiol, 15;482 ( Pt
Burgomaster KA, Heigenhauser GJF, Gibala MJ (2003). Skeletal
muscle metabolic and performance adaptation after short sprint
interval training (SIT), Medicine & Science in Sports &
Exercise, 36(5) S20.
Corder KP, Potteiger JA, Nau KL, Figoni SE, Hershberger
SL (2000). Effects of active and passive recovery conditions
on blood lactate, rating of perceived exertion, and performance
during resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research, 14: 151-156.
Hughes SC, Burgomaster, K. A., Heigenhauser, G. J., &
Gibala, M. J. (2003). Six bouts of sprint interval training (SIT)
improves intense aerobic cycling performance and peak anaerobic
power. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(5);S337.
McCartney NL, Spriet LL, Heigenhauser GJ, Kowalchuk JM,
Sutton J R, Jones NL (1986). Muscle power and metabolism in maximal
intermittent exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 60,
Issue 4 1164-1169
Signorile JF, Ingalls C, Tremblay LM (1993). The effects
of active and passive recovery on short-term, high intensity
power output. Can J Appl Physiol. Mar;18(1):31-42.
Sloth M, Sloth D, Overgaard K, Dalgas (2013). Effects of
sprint interval training on VO2max and aerobic exercise performance:
A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports.
Trembblay A, Simoneau
JA, Bouchard C. (1994). Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body
Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism, Metabolism. 43(7): 814-818.