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Effects of two high-intensity intermittent training programs interspaced by detraining on human skeletal muscle and performance

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of repeated high-intensity intermittent training programs interspaced by detraining on human skeletal muscle and performances. First, nineteen subjects were submitted to a 15-week cycle ergometer training program which involved both continuous and high-intensity interval work patterns. Among these 19 subjects, six participated in a second 15-week training program after 7 weeks of detraining. Subjects were tested before and after each training program for maximal aerobic power and maximal short-term ergocycle performances of 10 and 90 s. Muscle biopsy from the vastus lateralis before and after both training programs served for the determination of creatine kinase (CK), hexokinase, phosphofructokinase (PFK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), malate dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADH) and oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OGDH) activities. The first training program induced significant increases in all performances and enzyme activities but not in CK. Seven weeks of detraining provoked significant decreases in maximal aerobic power and maximal 90 s ergocycle performance. While the interruption of training had no effect on glycolytic enzyme markers (PFK and LDH), oxidative enzyme activities (HADH and OGDH) declined. These results suggest that a fairly long interruption in training has negligeable effects on glycolytic enzymes while a persistent training stimulus is required to maintain high oxidative enzyme levels in human skeletal muscle. The degree of adaptation observed after the second training program confirms that the magnitude of the adaptive response to exercise-training is limited.

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Correspondence to C. Bouchard.

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Simoneau, J.-., Lortie, G., Boulay, M.R. et al. Effects of two high-intensity intermittent training programs interspaced by detraining on human skeletal muscle and performance. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 516–521 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00635363

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Key words

  • Human skeletal muscle
  • Enzyme activities
  • Training
  • Detraining