European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 17–26 | Cite as

The effects of heavy continuous versus long and short intermittent aerobic exercise protocols on oxygen consumption, heart rate, and lactate responses in adolescents

  • Andreas Zafeiridis
  • H. Sarivasiliou
  • K. Dipla
  • I. S. Vrabas
Original Article


This study compared the physiological responses to heavy continuous (HC), short-intermittent (SI), and long-intermittent (LI) treadmill exercise protocols in non-endurance adolescent males. Nine adolescents (14 ± 0.6 years) performed a maximal incremental treadmill test followed, on separate days, by a SI [30 s at 110% of maximal aerobic velocity (MAV) with 30 s recovery at 50%], a LI (3 min at 95% of MAV with 3 min recovery at 35%), and a HC (at 83% of MAV) aerobic exercise protocol. VO2 and HR were measured continuously, and blood samples were obtained prior to and after the protocols. The duration of exercise and the distance covered were longer (p < 0.05) in HC and LI versus SI. All participants reached 80 and 85% of VO2peak irrespective of the protocol, while more participants reached 90 and 95% of VO2peak in the intermittent protocols (9 and 6, respectively) versus HC (5 and 3, respectively). The time spent above 80 and 85% of VO2peak was higher in HC and LI versus SI; the time above 90% was higher only in LI versus SI, and the time above 95% was higher in LI versus HC and SI. The total VO2 consumed was greater in HC and LI versus SI. Lactate was higher after LI versus HC. In conclusion, when matched for exhaustion level, LI is more effective in stimulating the aerobic system compared to both HC and SI, while HC aerobic exercise appears equally effective to SI. Nevertheless, adolescents have to exercise for a longer time in HC and LI to achieve these effects.


Intermittent Continuous Interval Children Adolescents Aerobic Endurance Oxygen consumption Time to exhaustion Exercise 



The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Zafeiridis
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Sarivasiliou
    • 1
  • K. Dipla
    • 1
  • I. S. Vrabas
    • 1
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at SerresAristotle University of Thessaloniki at SerresThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.TEFAA at SerresAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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