Rate and amplitude of adaptation to intermittent and continuous exercise in older men

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Mar;34(3):471-7. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200203000-00014.


Purpose: This study determined the amplitude and rate of adaptation to 10 wk of continuous (CEx) and intermittent exercise (IEx) in a group of older men when the training intensity and total amount of work completed by each exercise group were the same.

Methods: Ten healthy men were assigned to either a CEx (63 +/- 1 yr) or IEx (65 +/- 1 yr) group while a further five subjects (65 +/- 1 yr) acted as nonexercising controls (CON). The three groups (CEx, IEx, and CON) were matched for age, peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), and cardiac output (Qpeak) before commencing training. The CEx group trained for 30 min at an intensity corresponding to 70-75% VO2peak, and the IEx group trained for a total exercise time of 30 min using intermittent exercise (60-s exercise, 60-s rest) at the same absolute intensity as the CEx group (CEx 112 +/- 5W; IEx 112 +/- 5W). The exercise groups trained three times per week and completed a similar amount of work during each training session (CEx, 199 +/- 9 kJ; IEx 195 +/- 9 kJ, P = 0.67).

Results: The CEx and IEx groups had similar and significant amplitude increases in peak VO2, ventilation (VEpeak), power, Q, and SV after training. Peak VO2, Qpeak, SVpeak, and peak arteriovenous O2 difference for the CON group were unchanged. The change in VO2peak, peak ventilation, and peak power for CEx and IEx groups were best described by a linear model. Moreover, the CEx and IEx groups had the same rate of change in VO2peak (CEx: 0.02 +/- 0.00 L x min(-1) x wk(-1), IEx: 0.02 +/- 0.00 L x min(-1) x wk(-1), P = 0.32), VEpeak (CEx: 2.0 +/- 0.2 L x min(-1) x wk(-1), IEx: 1.2 +/- 0.5 L x min(-1) x wk(-1), P = 0.10), and peak power (CEx: 2.6 +/- 0.4 W x wk(-1), IEx: 2.6 +/- 0.4 W x wk(-1), P = 0.92).

Conclusion: These results suggest that the amplitude and rate of change of select adaptations in men aged 60-70 yr are independent of the mode of training (i.e., continuous or intermittent exercise) when the absolute training intensity and the total amount of work completed were similar.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Cardiac Output
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Stroke Volume
  • Time Factors