Sprint interval and traditional endurance training induce similar improvements in peripheral arterial stiffness and flow-mediated dilation in healthy humans

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Jul;295(1):R236-42. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00069.2008. Epub 2008 Apr 23.


Low-volume sprint interval training (SIT), or repeated sessions of brief, intense intermittent exercise, elicits metabolic adaptations that resemble traditional high-volume endurance training (ET). The effects of these different forms of exercise training on vascular structure and function remain largely unexplored. To test the hypothesis that SIT and ET would similarly improve peripheral artery distensibility and endothelial function and central artery distensibility, we recruited 20 healthy untrained subjects (age: 23.3 +/- 2.8 yr) and had them perform 6 wk of SIT or ET (n = 5 men and 5 women per group). The SIT group completed four to six 30-s "all-out" Wingate tests separated by 4.5 min of recovery 3 days/wk. The ET group completed 40-60 min of cycling at 65% of their peak oxygen uptake (Vo2peak) 5 days/wk. Popliteal endothelial function, both relative and normalized to shear stimulus, was improved after training in both groups (main effect for time, P < 0.05). Carotid artery distensibility was not statistically altered by training (P = 0.29) in either group; however, popliteal artery distensibility was improved in both groups to the same degree (main effect, P < 0.05). We conclude that SIT is a time-efficient strategy to elicit improvements in peripheral vascular structure and function that are comparable to ET. However, alterations in central artery distensibility may require a longer training stimuli and/or greater initial vascular stiffness than observed in this group of healthy subjects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Running*
  • Vasodilation / physiology*