Background: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be a feasible and efficacious strategy for improving health-related fitness in young people. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the utility of HIIT to improve health-related fitness in adolescents and to identify potential moderators of training effects.
Methods: Studies were considered eligible if they: (1) examined adolescents (13-18 years); (2) examined health-related fitness outcomes; (3) involved an intervention of ≥4 weeks in duration; (4) included a control or moderate intensity comparison group; and (5) prescribed high-intensity activity for the HIIT condition. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine the effect of HIIT on health-related fitness components using Comprehensive Meta-analysis software and potential moderators were explored (ie, study duration, risk of bias and type of comparison group).
Results: The effects of HIIT on cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition were large, and medium, respectively. Study duration was a moderator for the effect of HIIT on body fat percentage. Intervention effects for waist circumference and muscular fitness were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: HIIT is a feasible and time-efficient approach for improving cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in adolescent populations.
Keywords: Adolescent; Body composition; Cardiovascular; Physical fitness.
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