Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 702 - 707
Research article
Is Moderate Intensity Exercise Training Combined with High Intensity Interval Training More Effective at Improving Cardiorespiratory Fitness than Moderate Intensity Exercise Training Alone?
Brendon H. Roxburgh1, Paul B. Nolan1, Ryan M. Weatherwax2, Lance C. Dalleck2,

1 Department of Sport and Exercise Science, The University of Auckland, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
2 Recreation, Exercise, and Sport Science Department, Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, USA

Lance C. Dalleck
✉ Western State Colorado University, Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science Department,600 N. Adams St., Gunnison Colorado 81231, USA

13-03-2014 -- Accepted: 27-05-2014 --
Published (online): 01-09-2014


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of either continuous moderate intensity exercise training (CMIET) alone vs. CMIET combined with a single weekly bout of high intensity interval training (HIIT) on cardiorespiratory fitness. Twenty nine sedentary participants (36.3 ± 6.9 yrs) at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease were recruited for 12 weeks of exercise training on a treadmill and cycle ergometer. Participants were randomised into three groups: CMIET + HIIT (n = 7; 8-12 x 60 sec at 100% VO2max, 150 sec active recovery), CMIET (n = 6; 30 min at 45-60% oxygen consumption reserve (VO2R)) and a sedentary control group (n = 7). Participants in the CMIET + HIIT group performed a single weekly bout of HIIT and four weekly sessions of CMIET, whilst the CMIET group performed five weekly CMIET sessions. Probabilistic magnitude-based inferences were determined to assess the likelihood that the true value of the effect represents substantial change. Relative VO2max increased by 10.1% (benefit possible relative to control) in in the CMIET + HIIT group (32.7 ± 9.2 to 36.0 ± 11.5 mL·kg-1·min-1) and 3.9% (benefit possible relative to control) in the CMIET group (33.2 ± 4.0 to 34.5 ± 6.1 mL·kg-1·min-1), whilst there was a 5.7% decrease in the control group (30.0 ± 4.6 to 28.3 ± 6.5 mL·kg-1·min-1). It was ‘unclear’ if a clinically significant difference existed between the effect of CMIET + HIIT and CMIET on the change in VO2max. Both exercising groups showed clinically meaningful improvements in VO2max. Nevertheless, it remains ‘unclear’ whether one type of exercise training regimen elicits a superior improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness relative to its counterpart.

Key words: Exercise prescription, prevention, risk factors, cardiovascular disease
Key Points
Both continuous moderate intensity exercise training (CMIET) alone and CMIET combined with a single weekly bout of high intensity interval training (CMIET + HIIT) elicit ‘possibly beneficial’ clinically meaningful improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness.
Cardiorespiratory fitness improved by ~1.0 MET in the CMIET + HIIT exercise intervention group, which likely leads to important long-term prevention implications as a 1 MET increase in cardiorespiratory fitness has been linked with an 18% reduction in deaths due to CVD.
There was 100% adherence to interval sessions in the CMIET + HIIT group, suggesting this combination of training can be well-tolerated in previously inactive overweight/obese individuals.



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