Background: High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been recently promoted as an effective, low volume and time-efficient training method for improving fitness and health related parameters. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of a combination of a group-based HIIT and conventional gym training on physical fitness and body composition parameters in healthy adults.
Methods: Thirty nine healthy adults volunteered to participate in this eight-week intervention study. Twenty three participants performed regular gym training 4 days a week (C group), whereas the remaining 16 participants engaged twice a week in HIIT and twice in regular gym training (HIIT-C group) as the other group. Total body fat and visceral adiposity levels were calculated using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Physical fitness parameters such as cardiorespiratory fitness, speed, lower limb explosiveness, flexibility and isometric arm strength were assessed through a battery of field tests.
Results: Both exercise programs were effective in reducing total body fat and visceral adiposity (P<0.05) and improving handgrip strength, sprint time, jumping ability and flexibility (P<0.05) whilst only the combination of HIIT and conventional training improved cardiorespiratory fitness levels (P<0.05). A between of group changes analysis revealed that HIIT-C resulted in significantly greater reduction in both abdominal girth and visceral adiposity compared with conventional training (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Eight weeks of combined group-based HIIT and conventional training improve various physical fitness parameters and reduce both total and visceral fat levels. This type of training was also found to be superior compared with conventional exercise training alone in terms of reducing more visceral adiposity levels. Group-based HIIT may consider as a good methods for individuals who exercise in gyms and craving to acquire significant fitness benefits in relatively short period of time.