European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 8, pp 1573–1583 | Cite as

Effect of voluntary hypocapnic hyperventilation or moderate hypoxia on metabolic and heart rate responses during high-intensity intermittent exercise

  • Kohei Dobashi
  • Naoto Fujii
  • Kazuhito Watanabe
  • Bun Tsuji
  • Yosuke Sasaki
  • Tomomi Fujimoto
  • Satoru Tanigawa
  • Takeshi Nishiyasu
Original Article



To investigate the effect of voluntary hypocapnic hyperventilation or moderate hypoxia on metabolic and heart rate responses during high-intensity intermittent exercise.


Ten males performed three 30-s bouts of high-intensity cycling [Ex1 and Ex2: constant-workload at 80% of the power output in the Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT), Ex3: WAnT] interspaced with 4-min recovery periods under normoxic (Control), hypocapnic or hypoxic (2500 m) conditions. Hypocapnia was developed through voluntary hyperventilation for 20 min prior to Ex1 and during each recovery period.


End-tidal CO2 pressure was lower before each exercise in the hypocapnia than control trials. Oxygen uptake (\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2}\)) was lower in the hypocapnia than control trials (822 ± 235 vs. 1645 ± 245 mL min−1; mean ± SD) during Ex1, but not Ex2 or Ex3, without a between-trial difference in the power output during the exercises. Heart rates (HRs) during Ex1 (127 ± 8 vs. 142 ± 10 beats min−1) and subsequent post-exercise recovery periods were lower in the hypocapnia than control trials, without differences during or after Ex2, except at 4 min into the second recovery period. \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2}\) did not differ between the control and hypoxia trials throughout.


These results suggest that during three 30-s bouts of high-intensity intermittent cycling, (1) hypocapnia reduces the aerobic metabolic rate with a compensatory increase in the anaerobic metabolic rate during the first but not subsequent exercises; (2) HRs during the exercise and post-exercise recovery periods are lowered by hypocapnia, but this effect is diminished with repeated exercise bouts, and (3) moderate hypoxia (2500 m) does not affect the metabolic response during exercise.


High-intensity intermittent exercise Respiratory alkalosis Tachycardia response Anaerobic capacity Altitude training 



Accommodation period


Analysis of variance


Blood lactate concentration


Respiratory frequency


High-intensity intermittent exercise


Heart rate


End-tidal CO2 pressure


End-tidal O2 pressure


Rating of perceived exertion


Spontaneous breathing


Arterial O2 saturation

\(\dot{V}{\text{CO}}_{ 2}\)

Carbon dioxide elimination


Minute ventilation


Voluntary hyperventilation

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2}\)

Oxygen uptake


Tidal volume


Wingate anaerobic test



We appreciate all subjects volunteered for the present study. We also greatly appreciate the help of Dr. William Goldman for English editing and critical comments. The article was funded by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (Grant No. 25,242,061).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kohei Dobashi
    • 1
  • Naoto Fujii
    • 1
  • Kazuhito Watanabe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bun Tsuji
    • 3
  • Yosuke Sasaki
    • 1
  • Tomomi Fujimoto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Satoru Tanigawa
    • 1
  • Takeshi Nishiyasu
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Sport SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba CityJapan
  2. 2.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Human Culture and SciencePrefectural University of HiroshimaHiroshimaJapan

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