European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 12, pp 2433–2443 | Cite as

Acute effects of repeated cycling sprints in hypoxia induced by voluntary hypoventilation

  • Xavier WooronsEmail author
  • Patrick Mucci
  • Julien Aucouturier
  • Agathe Anthierens
  • Grégoire P. Millet
Original Article



This study aimed to investigate the acute responses to repeated-sprint exercise (RSE) in hypoxia induced by voluntary hypoventilation at low lung volume (VHL).


Nine well-trained subjects performed two sets of eight 6-s sprints on a cycle ergometer followed by 24 s of inactive recovery. RSE was randomly carried out either with normal breathing (RSN) or with VHL (RSH-VHL). Peak (PPO) and mean power output (MPO) of each sprint were measured. Arterial oxygen saturation, heart rate (HR), gas exchange and muscle concentrations of oxy-([O2Hb]) and deoxyhaemoglobin/myoglobin ([HHb]) were continuously recorded throughout exercise. Blood lactate concentration ([La]) was measured at the end of the first (S1) and second set (S2).


There was no difference in PPO and MPO between conditions in all sprints. Arterial oxygen saturation (87.7 ± 3.6 vs 96.9 ± 1.8% at the last sprint) and HR were lower in RSH-VHL than in RSN during most part of exercise. The changes in [O2Hb] and [HHb] were greater in RSH-VHL at S2. Oxygen uptake was significantly higher in RSH-VHL than in RSN during the recovery periods following sprints at S2 (3.02 ± 0.4 vs 2.67 ± 0.5 L min−1 on average) whereas [La] was lower in RSH-VHL at the end of exercise (10.3 ± 2.9 vs 13.8 ± 3.5 mmol.L−1; p < 0.01).


This study shows that performing RSE with VHL led to larger arterial and muscle deoxygenation than with normal breathing while maintaining similar power output. This kind of exercise may be worth using for performing repeated sprint training in hypoxia.


Hypoventilation Hypoxia Hypoxemia Repeated sprints Exercise 



Muscle concentrations of deoxyhaemoglobin/myoglobin


Blood lactate concentration


Muscle concentrations of oxyhaemoglobin/myoglobin


Total haemoglobin/myoglobin


Analysis of variance


Functional residual capacity


Heart rate


Mean power output


Normal breathing


Near-infrared spectroscopy


Peak power output


Rating of perceived exertion


Repeated-sprint exercise


Repeated sprints in hypoxia


Repeated sprints in hypoxia induced by voluntary hypoventilation at low lung volume


Repeated sprints in normoxia


Arterial oxygen saturation

\(\mathop {V}\limits^{.} {\text{E}}\)

Expired ventilation

\(\mathop {V}\limits^{.} {\text{E}}/\mathop {V}\limits^{.} {\text{C}}{{\text{O}}_2}\)

Ventilatory equivalent for carbon dioxide


Voluntary hypoventilation at low lung volume

\(\mathop {V}\limits^{.} {{\text{O}}_2}\)

Oxygen uptake

\(\mathop {V}\limits^{.} {{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\)

Maximal oxygen uptake



We would like to sincerely thank all the subjects who participated in this study for their hard efforts and dedicated time.


  1. Ahn B, Nishibayashi Y, Okita S, Masuda A, Takaishi S, Paulev PE, Honda Y (1989) Heart rate response to breath-holding during supramaximal exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 59:146–151CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Amann M, Romer LM, Subudhi AW, Pegelow DF, Dempsey JA (2007) Severity of arterial hypoxaemia affects the relative contributions of peripheral muscle fatigue to exercise performance in healthy humans. J Physiol 581:389–403CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Billaut F, Kerris JP, Rodriguez RF, Martin DT, Gore CJ, Bishop DJ (2013) Interaction of central and peripheral factors during repeated sprints at different levels of arterial O2 saturation. PLoS One 8:e77297. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077297 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bishop D, Girard O, Mendez-Villanueva A (2011) Repeated-sprint ability—part II: recommendations for training. Sport Med 41:741–756 (Review) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bogdanis GC, Nevill ME, Boobis LH et al (1996) Contribution of phosphocreatine and aerobic metabolism to energy supply during repeated sprint exercise. J Appl Physiol 80:876–884PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Boushel R, Piantadosi CA (2000) Near-infrared spectroscopy for monitoring muscle oxygenation. Acta Physiol Scand 168:615–622CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowtell JL, Cooke K, Turner R, Mileva KN, Sumners DP (2014) Acute physiological and performance responses to repeated sprints in varying degrees of hypoxia. J Sci Med Sport 17:399–403CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brocherie F, Girard O, Faiss R, Millet GP (2015) High-intensity intermittent training in hypoxia: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled field study in youth football players. J Strength Cond Res 29:226–237. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000590 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Brocherie F, Millet GP, Morin JB, Girard O (2016) Mechanical alterations to repeated treadmill sprints in normobaric hypoxia. Med Sci Sport Exerc 48:1570–1579. doi: 10.1249/MSS.000000000000093 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brocherie F, Girard O, Faiss R, Millet GP (2017a) Effects of repeated-sprint training in hypoxia on sea-level performance: a meta-analysis. Sport Med doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0685-3 (Review) Google Scholar
  11. Brocherie F, Millet GP, D’Hulst G, Van Thienen R, Deldicque L, Girard O (2017b) Repeated maximal-intensity hypoxic exercise superimposed to hypoxic residence boosts skeletal muscle transcriptional responses in elite team-sport athletes. Acta Physiol. doi: 10.1111/apha.12851 Google Scholar
  12. Dempsey JA, Wagner PD (1999) Exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia. J Appl Physiol 87:1997–2006PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Faiss R, Léger B, Vesin JM, Fournier PE, Eggel Y, Dériaz O, Millet GP (2013a) Significant molecular and systemic adaptations after repeated sprint training in hypoxia. PLoS One 8:e56522CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Faiss R, Girard O, Millet GP (2013b) Advancing hypoxic training in team sports: from intermittent hypoxic training to repeated sprint training in hypoxia. Br J Sport Med 47(Suppl 1):i45–i50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Faiss R, Willis S, Born DP, Sperlich B, Vesin JM, Holmberg HC, Millet GP (2015) Repeated double-poling sprint training in hypoxia by competitive cross-country skiers. Med Sci Sport Exerc 47:809–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fernandez M, Burns K, Calhoun B, George S, Martin B, Weaver C (2007) Evaluation of a new pulse oximeter sensor. Am J Crit Care 16:146–152PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaesser GA, Brooks GA (1984) Metabolic bases of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: a review. Med Sci Sport Exerc 16:29–43Google Scholar
  18. Gatterer H, Philippe M, Menz V, Mosbach F, Faulhaber M, Burtscher M (2014) Shuttle-run sprint training in hypoxia for youth elite soccer players: a pilot study. J Sport Sci Med 13:731–735Google Scholar
  19. Girard O, Mendez-Villanueva A, Bishop D (2011) Repeated-sprint ability—part I: factors contributing to fatigue. Sport Med 41:673–694 (Review) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Girard O, Brocherie F, Millet GP (2017) Effects of altitude/hypoxia on single- and multiple-sprint performance: a comprehensive review. Sport Med. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0733-z Google Scholar
  21. Glaister M, Howatson G, Pattison JR, McInnes G (2008) The reliability and validity of fatigue measures during multiple-sprint work: an issue revisited. J Strength Cond Res 22:1597–1601CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Goods P SR, Dawson BT, Landers GJ, Gore CJ, Peeling P (2014) Effect of different simulated altitudes on repeat-sprint performance in team-sport athletes. Int J Sport Physiol Perform 9:857–862. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0423 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grassi B, Pogliaghi S, Rampichini S, Quaresima V, Ferrari M, Marconi C, Cerretelli P (2003) Muscle oxygenation and pulmonary gas exchange kinetics during cycling exercise on transitions in humans. J Appl Physiol 95:149–158CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Kasai N, Mizuno S, Ishimoto S, Sakamoto E, Maruta M, Goto K (2015) Effect of training in hypoxia on repeated sprint performance in female athletes. Springerplus 4:310. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-1041-4 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Millet GP, Faiss R, Brocherie F, Girard O (2013) Hypoxic training and team sports: a challenge to traditional methods? Br J Sport Med 47(Suppl 1):i6–i7. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092793 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Millet GP, Brocherie F, Girard O, Wehrlin JP et al (2016) Commentaries on viewpoint: time for a new metric for hypoxic dose? J Appl Physiol 121:356–358. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00460.2016 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Morrison J, McLellan C, Minahan C (2015) A Clustered Repeated-sprint running protocol for team-sport athletes performed in normobaric hypoxia. J Sport Sci Med 14:857–863Google Scholar
  28. Quanjer PH, Tammeling GJ, Cotes JE, Pedersen OF, Peslin R, Yernault JC (1993) Lung volumes and forced ventilatory flows. Eur Respir J 16:5–40. doi: 10.1183/09041950.005s1693 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Racinais S, Bishop D, Denis R, Lattier G, Mendez-Villaneuva A et al (2007) Muscle deoxygenation and neural drive to the muscle during repeated sprint cycling. Med Sci Sport Exerc 39:268–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Romer LM, Haverkamp HC, Amann M, Lovering AT, Pegelow DF, Dempsey JA (2007) Effect of acute severe hypoxia on peripheral fatigue and endurance capacity in healthy humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 292:R598–R606CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Schallom L, Sona C, McSweeney M, Mazuski J (2007) Comparison of forehead and digit oximetry in surgical/trauma patients at risk for decreased peripheral perfusion. Heart Lung 36:188–194CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Sharratt MT, Henke KG, Aaron EA, Pegelow DF, Dempsey JA (1987) Exercise-induced changes in functional residual capacity. Respir Physiol 70:313–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Trincat L, Woorons X, Millet GP (2017) Repeated sprint training in hypoxia induced by voluntary hypoventilation in swimming. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 12:329–335CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. West JB (1997) Respiratory physiology. The essentials, 5th edn. Williams & Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  35. Woorons X, Mollard P, Pichon A, Duvallet A, Richalet JP, Lamberto C (2007) Prolonged expiration down to residual volume leads to severe arterial hypoxemia in athletes during submaximal exercise. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 15:75–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Woorons X, Mollard P, Pichon A, Duvallet A, Richalet J-P, Lamberto C (2008) Effects of a 4-week training with voluntary hypoventilation carried out at low pulmonary volumes. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 160:123–130CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Woorons X, Bourdillon N, Vandewalle H, Lamberto C, Mollard P, Richalet JP, Pichon A (2010) Exercise with hypoventilation induces lower muscle oxygenation and higher blood lactate concentration: role of hypoxia and hypercapnia. Eur J Appl Physiol 110:367–377CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Woorons X, Bourdillon N, Lamberto C, Vandewalle H, Richalet JP, Mollard P, Pichon A (2011) Cardiovascular responses during hypoventilation at exercise. Int J Sport Med 32:438–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Woorons X, Gamelin FX, Lamberto C, Pichon A, Richalet JP (2014) Swimmers can train in hypoxia at sea level through voluntary hypoventilation. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 190:33–39CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Woorons X, Mucci P, Richalet JP, Pichon A (2016) Hypoventilation training at supramaximal intensity improves swimming performance. Med Sci Sport Exerc 48:119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.URePSSS, Unité de Recherche Pluridisciplinaire Sport, Santé, Société, Faculté des Sciences du Sport et de l’EPUniversity of LilleRonchinFrance
  2. 2.ARPEH, Association pour la Recherche et la Promotion de l’Entraînement en HypoventilationLilleFrance
  3. 3.ISSUL, Institute of Sports SciencesUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations