A review of adolescent high-intensity interval training

Sports Med. 2014 Aug;44(8):1071-85. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0187-5.


Despite the promising evidence supporting positive effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on the metabolic profile in adults, there is limited research targeting adolescents. Given the rising burden of chronic disease, it is essential to implement strategies to improve the cardiometabolic health in adolescence, as this is a key stage in the development of healthy lifestyle behaviours. This narrative review summarises evidence of the relative efficacy of HIIT regarding the metabolic health of adolescents. Methodological inconsistencies confound our ability to draw conclusions; however, there is meaningful evidence supporting HIIT as a potentially efficacious exercise modality for use in the adolescent cohort. Future research must examine the effects of various HIIT protocols to determine the optimum strategy to deliver cardiometabolic health benefits. Researchers should explicitly show between-group differences for HIIT intervention and steady-state exercise or control groups, as the magnitude of difference between HIIT and other exercise modalities is of key interest to public health. There is scope for research to examine the palatability of HIIT as an exercise modality for adolescents through investigating perceived enjoyment during and after HIIT, and consequent long-term exercise adherence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids