High intensity interval exercise training in overweight young women

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Jun;52(3):255-62.


Aim: The purpose of this study was intended to evaluate the effects of a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program on the body composition, cardiac function and aerobic capacity in overweight young women.

Methods: Sixty female university students (aged 19-20, BMI≥25kg/m2 and percentage body fat ≥ 30%) were chosen and then randomly assigned to each of the HIIT group, the moderate intensity continuous training (MICT) group and the non-training control group. The subjects in both the HIIT and MICT groups underwent exercise training five times per week for 12 weeks. In each of the training sessions, the HIIT group performed interval exercises at the individualized heart rate (HR) of 85% of VO2max and separated by brief periods of low intensity activity (HR at 50% of VO2max), while the MICT group did continuous walking and/or jogging at the individualized HR of 50% of VO2max.

Results: Both of these exercise training programs produced significant improvements in the subjects' body composition, left ventricular ejection fraction, heart rate at rest, maximal oxygen uptake and ventilatory threshold. However, the HIIT group achieved better results than those in the MICT group, as it was evaluated by the amount of the effect size. The control group did not achieve any change in all of the measured variables.

Conclusion: The tangible results achieved by our relatively large groups of homogeneous subjects have demonstrated that the HIIT program is an effective measure for the treatment of young women who are overweight.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Overweight*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Running / physiology
  • Walking / physiology
  • Young Adult