Effects of various interval training regimes on changes in maximal oxygen uptake, body composition, and muscular strength in sedentary women with obesity

  • Amy Clark
  • Annie B. De La Rosa
  • Jamie L. DeRevere
  • Todd A. AstorinoEmail author
Original Article



We determined the effects of two high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimens [the traditional (TRAD) and periodized (PER)] on changes in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), body composition, and muscular strength in sedentary, obese women.


Seventeen women (age and BMI = 37.5 ± 10.5 year and 39.1 ± 4.3 kg/m2) were randomized into a 6 week regime of TRAD or PER which consisted of three sessions per week, two in the laboratory, and one on their own. Pre- and post-training, VO2max, body composition, and muscular strength of the knee extensors (KE) and flexors (KF) were assessed via ramp cycling to exhaustion, air displacement plethysmography, and isokinetic dynamometry, respectively.


VO2max was increased by 4–5% in response to training (p = 0.045) with no group-by-time interaction (p = 0.79). Body mass, fat mass, and waist-to-hip ratio were unaltered (p > 0.05) in response to training, yet there was a significant change in percent body fat (p = 0.03), percent fat-free mass (p = 0.03), and absolute fat-free mass (p = 0.03) in TRAD but not PER. No change occurred in KE (p = 0.36) or KF torque (p = 0.75) in response to training and there was no group-by-time interaction (p > 0.05).


Low-volume HIIT improved VO2max and body composition but did not modify muscular strength, which suggests that obese women desiring to increase strength should initiate more intense HIIT or partake in formal resistance training.


High-intensity interval exercise Obesity Air displacement plethysmography Muscular force 



Body mass index


Fat-free mass


High-intensity interval training


Heart rate


Maximal oxygen uptake


Maximal voluntary contraction


Metabolic equivalent


Moderate-intensity continuous training


Peak power output


Percent body fat


Ventilatory threshold



The authors would like to thank Connie Lam for her assistance in data collection. They would also like to thank Dr. Chantal Vella for consultation regarding the study design, as well as Dr. Devan Romero and Dr. Kimbo Yee for their assistance with manuscript writing, as well as the participants for taking part in this study.

Author contribution statement

The corresponding author TAA conceived the study, helped AC and ABD analyze the data, and with their assistance, wrote the final draft of the manuscript. AC and ABD assisted the corresponding author with the development of the study protocol, recruited participants, collected the data, and developed the first draft of the final manuscript. JLD helped the research team collect data and read and approved the final manuscript. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest in the execution of this study and dissemination of these results.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Clark
    • 1
  • Annie B. De La Rosa
    • 1
  • Jamie L. DeRevere
    • 1
  • Todd A. Astorino
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyCalifornia State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

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