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Magnitude and time course of changes in maximal oxygen uptake in response to distinct regimens of chronic interval training in sedentary women



This study aimed to compare changes in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in response to two regimens of chronic interval training.


Twenty healthy sedentary women (mean ± SD age and VO2max = 23.0 ± 5.7 years and 30.1 ± 4.4 mL kg−1 min−1, respectively) were randomized to complete 12 weeks of one of two interval training regimes, while an additional seven women served as controls. Training was performed 3 days week−1 on a cycle ergometer and consisted of 6–10 bouts of 1 min duration at lower (60–80 % W max = LO, n = 10) or more intense (80–90 % W max = HI, n = 10) workloads separated by a brief recovery. Every 3 weeks, measures of VO2max and W max were repeated to assign new training intensities. Changes in blood pressure and body composition were also examined.


Data revealed significant (p < 0.001) improvements in VO2max in LO (22.3 ± 6.9 %) and HI (21.9 ± 11.6 %) that were similar (p > 0.05) between groups. Approximately 60 % of the increase in VO2max in HI was observed in the initial 3 weeks, compared to only 20 % in LO. No change (p > 0.05) in body weight or body composition was revealed in response to training. Results demonstrate that a relatively prolonged regimen of moderate or more intense interval training induces similar improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, although HI induced greater increases in VO2max early on in training than LO. Completion of more intense interval training may be an effective means to expedite increases in VO2max soon after initiation of exercise training.

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Fig. 1



Body mass index


Percent body fat




Higher intensity interval training


Heart rate




Lower intensity interval training







VO2max :

Maximal oxygen uptake




Waist circumference






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This study was partially funded by a University GPSM grant. The authors want to thank the subjects for their sincere dedication to the project as well as Kalie Reams and Weston Titus for assistance with data collection.

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Correspondence to Todd A. Astorino.

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Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

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Astorino, T.A., Schubert, M.M., Palumbo, E. et al. Magnitude and time course of changes in maximal oxygen uptake in response to distinct regimens of chronic interval training in sedentary women. Eur J Appl Physiol 113, 2361–2369 (2013).

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