Integrative neuromuscular training (INT) has emerged as an effective strategy for improving health- and skill-related components of physical fitness, yet few studies have explored the cardiometabolic demands of this type of training in children. The aim of this study was to examine the acute cardiometabolic responses to a multi-modal INT protocol and to compare these responses to a bout of moderate-intensity treadmill (TM) walking in children. Participants (n = 14, age 10.7 ± 1.1 years) were tested for peak oxygen uptake (VO2) and peak heart rate (HR) on a maximal TM test and subsequently participated in two experimental conditions on nonconsecutive days: a 12-min INT protocol of six different exercises performed twice for 30 s with a 30 s rest interval between sets and exercises and a 12-min TM protocol of walking at 50% VO2peak. Throughout the INT protocol mean VO2 and HR increased significantly from 14.9 ± 3.6 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 (28.2% VO2 peak) to 34.0 ± 6.4 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 (64.3% VO2 peak) and from 121.1 ± 9.0 bpm (61.0% HR peak) to 183.5 ± 7.9 bpm (92.4% HR peak), respectively. While mean VO2 for the entire protocol did not differ between INT and TM, mean VO2 and HR during selected INT exercises and mean HR for the entire INT protocol were significantly higher than TM (all Ps ≤ 0.05). These findings suggest that INT can pose a moderate to vigorous cardiometabolic stimulus in children and selected INT exercises can be equal to or more metabolically challenging than TM walking.
Keywords: Heart rate; interval training; metabolism; oxygen consumption; physical activity; resistance training; strength training; youth.