Sex-Based Performance Responses to an Acute Sprint Interval Cycling Training Session in Collegiate Athletes

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2021 Sep;92(3):469-476. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2020.1751026. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


There are limited data pertaining to the effects of sex on sprint interval cycling (SIC) training session performance. Purpose: We investigated sex-based differences on sprint interval cycling (SIC) performance in collegiate soccer players. Methods: Twelve men and twelve women completed two identical lab trials, 7-14 days apart. The first lab session served as familiarization, "dry run," trial. Reported data were collected and analyzed during the second, "testing" SIC training trial. Each SIC training session was comprised of a warm-up, at 50 revolutions per min (RPM) with no resistance, and six repeated 30-s Wingate Anaerobic Tests (WAnT) separated by a 4-min recovery period between each sprint. Results: Significant (P ≤ .05) sex differences were observed in peak power (PP), peak power relative to body mass (RPP), mean power (MP), mean power relative to body mass (RMP) but not in peak power relative to fat free mass (FFMPP). When WAnT bouts 2-6 were expressed as %Δ of WAnT1, there were no significant (P > .05) differences between the sexes across all performance variables. Further, Cohen's d statistics demonstrated only trivial and small effect size between the groups. Average HR and RPE were not significantly (P > .05) different between the sexes. Correlational analysis revealed a significant (P ≤ .05) relationship between FFM, and PP and MP. Conclusion: Although overall performance may be affected by a number of physiological mechanisms, the results of the current study indicate that differences between men and women soccer players performing SIC training, are likely attributed to differences in body composition.

Keywords: Body composition; Wingate Anaerobic Test; relative anaerobic capacity; relative power.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult