Concomitant application of sprint and high-intensity interval training on maximal oxygen uptake and work output in well-trained cyclists

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Aug;116(8):1495-502. doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3405-z. Epub 2016 Jun 4.


Purpose: In this study, we compared the effects of two different training modalities on maximal oxygen uptake and work output.

Methods: Participants included 26 well-trained mountain bike cyclists were divided into two groups. The first group trained using a conventional endurance protocol at steady-state (moderate) intensity and variable-intensity (high-moderate-low) free of maximal efforts. The second group combined endurance training with a sprint and high-intensity interval training protocol, which, respectively, were based on 30 s maximal repetitions and 4 min high intensity repetitions. Training duration was 8 weeks. A graded exercise test was administered pre- and post-training. Work output, oxygen uptake, minute pulmonary ventilation, heart rate and stroke volume were determined during the test.

Results: While work output significantly increased post-training in both groups (P < 0.05), the interval training group showed a greater magnitude of change (from 284.4 ± 91.9 to 314.2 ± 95.1 kJ) than the endurance training group (from 271.8 ± 73.3 to 283.4 ± 72.3 kJ). Significant increases in maximal oxygen uptake (from 57.9 ± 6.8 to 66.6 ± 5.3 ml kg(-1) min(-1)), maximal pulmonary ventilation and stroke volume were observed only in the interval training group.

Conclusions: An exercise protocol involving endurance and sprint and high-intensity interval training was found to induce positive effects on maximal oxygen uptake in a group of well-trained cyclists with several years athletic experience.

Keywords: Cycling; Interval training; Maximal oxygen uptake.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology