Physiological and Anthropometric Differences Among Endurance, Strength, and High-Intensity Functional Training Participants: A Cross-Sectional Study

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2023 Mar;94(1):131-142. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2021.1947468. Epub 2022 Mar 18.


Purpose: We compared aerobic capacity (V˙O2max), mitochondrial capacity (mV˙O2), anaerobic power, strength, and muscle endurance in healthy, active men from strength (STR), endurance (END) and high-intensity functional training (HIFT) backgrounds. Methods: Twenty-four men (n = 8/group) completed a cycle ergometer test to determine V˙O2max, followed by a 3-min all-out test to determine peak (PP) and end power (EP), and to estimate anaerobic [work done above EP (WEP)] and aerobic work capacity. Strength was determined by knee extensor maximal voluntary contraction at various flexion angles. The endurance index (EI) of the vastus lateralis (VL) was assessed by measuring muscle contraction acceleration during electrical twitch mechanomyography. mV˙O2max of the VL was assessed using near-infrared spectroscopy to estimate muscle oxygen consumption during transient femoral artery occlusions. Results: V˙O2max was significantly different among groups (p < .05). PP was significantly higher in HIFT and STR versus END (p < .05). EP was significantly higher in HIFT and END compared to STR (p < .05). WEP was significantly higher in STR compared to END (p < .05), whereas total work done was significantly higher in HIFT and END compared to STR (p < .05). mV˙O2max and EI were comparable between HIFT and END but significantly lower in STR versus END (p < .05). Torque production was significantly lower in END compared to STR and HIFT at all flexion angles (p < .05), with no difference between STR and HIFT. Conclusion: HIFT participants can exert similar power outputs and absolute strength compared to strength focused participants but exhibit fatigue resistance and mitochondrial capacity comparable to those who train for endurance.

Keywords: Aerobic capacity; fatigue resistance; high-intensity functional training; mitochondrial oxidative capacity; performance; power; strength.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • High-Intensity Interval Training*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance* / physiology