European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 767–779 | Cite as

Performance and physiological responses during a sprint interval training session: relationships with muscle oxygenation and pulmonary oxygen uptake kinetics

  • Martin BuchheitEmail author
  • Chris R. Abbiss
  • Jeremiah J. Peiffer
  • Paul B. Laursen
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to examine the cardiorespiratory and muscle oxygenation responses to a sprint interval training (SIT) session, and to assess their relationships with maximal pulmonary O2 uptake \( (\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} {\text{max)}} \), on- and off- \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \) kinetics and muscle reoxygenation rate (Reoxy rate). Ten male cyclists performed two 6-min moderate-intensity exercises (≈90–95% of lactate threshold power output, Mod), followed 10 min later by a SIT session consisting of 6 × 30-s all out cycling sprints interspersed with 2 min of passive recovery. \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \) kinetics at Mod onset (\( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \tau_{\text{on}} \)) and cessation (\( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \tau_{\text{off}} \)) were calculated. Cardiorespiratory variables, blood lactate ([La]b) and muscle oxygenation level of the vastus lateralis (tissue oxygenation index, TOI) were recorded during SIT. Percentage of the decline in power output (%Dec), time spent above 90% of \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} { \max } \) (t > 90% \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} { \max } \)) and Reoxy rate after each sprint were also recorded. Despite a low mean \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \) (48.0 ± 4.1% of \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} { \max } \)), SIT performance was associated with high peak \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \) (90.4 ± 2.8% of \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} { \max } \)), muscle deoxygenation (sprint ΔTOI = −27%) and [La]b (15.3 ± 0.7 mmol l−1) levels. Muscle deoxygenation and Reoxy rate increased throughout sprint repetitions (P < 0.001 for both). Except for t > 90% \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} { \max } \) versus \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \tau_{\text{off}} \) [r = 0.68 (90% CL, 0.20; 0.90); P = 0.03], there were no significant correlations between any index of aerobic function and either SIT performance or physiological responses [e.g., %Dec vs. \( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{p}}}} \tau_{\text{off}} \): r = −0.41 (−0.78; 0.18); P = 0.24]. Present results show that SIT elicits a greater muscle O2 extraction with successive sprint repetitions, despite the decrease in external power production (%Dec = 21%). Further, our findings obtained in a small and homogenous group indicate that performance and physiological responses to SIT are only slightly influenced by aerobic fitness level in this population.


Repeated-sprint ability Near-infrared spectroscopy Muscle oxygenation 



The authors thank the subjects for their enthusiastic participation, and four anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions offered on prior versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Buchheit
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chris R. Abbiss
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jeremiah J. Peiffer
    • 5
  • Paul B. Laursen
    • 2
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Physiology Unit, Sport Science DepartmentASPIRE, Academy for Sports ExcellenceDohaQatar
  2. 2.School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyAustralian Institute of SportBelconnenAustralia
  4. 4.Division of Materials Science and EngineeringCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganisationBelmontAustralia
  5. 5.School of Chiropractic and Sports Science Murdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  6. 6.New Zealand Academy of SportAucklandNew Zealand
  7. 7.Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), School of Sport and RecreationAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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