Effects of combined high intensity arm and leg training on performance and cardio-respiratory measures

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. Jul-Aug 2017;57(7-8):969-975. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06539-7. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of combined arm and leg high-intensity low-volume interval training (HIITarm+leg) on maximal oxygen uptake, myocardial measures (i.e. stroke volume, cardiac output, ejection fraction), Tissue Oxygenation Index (TOI) of the vastus lateralis and triceps brachii, as well as power output in comparison to leg HIIT (HIITleg) only.

Methods: The 20 healthy, male and female volunteers completed six sessions of either HIITleg on a cycle ergometer or HIITarm+leg on an arm and leg cycle ergometer. During pre- and post-testing, the volunteers completed a submaximal and incremental test to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer.

Results: Magnitude based interference revealed likely to very likely beneficial effects for HIITarm+leg compared to HIITleg in maximal oxygen uptake, cardiac measures as well peak power output. The TOI following HIITarm+leg demonstrated likely to very likely increased oxygenation in the triceps brachii or the vastus lateralis when compared to HIITleg.

Conclusions: The results suggest that six sessions of HIITarm+leg may likely to very likely improve maximal oxygen uptake, some inotropy-related cardiac measures with improved tissue oxygenation of the triceps brachii and vastus lateralis muscles resulting in greater leg peak power output.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Stroke Volume
  • Young Adult