European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 8, pp 1725–1733 | Cite as

Acute effects of very low-volume high-intensity interval training on muscular fatigue and serum testosterone level vary according to age and training status

  • T. Venckunas
  • R. KrusnauskasEmail author
  • A. Snieckus
  • N. Eimantas
  • N. Baranauskiene
  • A. Skurvydas
  • M. Brazaitis
  • S. Kamandulis
Original Article



To compare the acute physiological responses of three different very low-volume cycling sessions (6 × 5 s, 3 × 30 s, and 3 × 60 s) and their dependence on age and training status.


Subjects were untrained young men (mean ± SD; age 22.3 ± 4.6 years, VO2peak 42.4 ± 5.5 ml/kg/min, n = 10), older untrained men (69.9 ± 6.3 years, 26.5 ± 7.6 ml/kg/min, n = 11), and endurance-trained cyclists (26.4 ± 9.4 years, 55.4 ± 6.6 ml/kg/min, n = 10). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and electrically stimulated knee extension torque, and low-frequency fatigue, as ratio of stimulation torques at 20–100 Hz (P20/100), were measured only 24 h after exercise. Serum testosterone (Te) and blood lactate concentrations were measured only 1 h after exercise.


All protocols increased the blood lactate concentration and decreased MVC and P20/100 in young men, but especially young untrained men. In old untrained men, 6 × 5 s decreased P20/100 but not MVC. Te increased after 3 × 30 s and 3 × 60 s in young untrained men and after 3 × 60 s in older untrained men. The increase in Te correlated with responses of blood lactate concentration, MVC, and P20/100 only in old untrained men.


As little as 6 × 5 s all-out cycling induced fatigue in young and old untrained and endurance-trained cyclists. Slightly higher-volume sessions with longer intervals, however, suppressed contractile function more markedly and also transiently increased serum testosterone concentration in untrained men.


Anabolic response Low-frequency fatigue High-intensity interval training Sprint interval training 



High-intensity interval training


Heart rate


Low-frequency fatigue


Maximal voluntary contraction


Standard deviation


Sprint interval training


Serum testosterone concentration


Peak oxygen uptake



This work was supported by the Research Council of Lithuania [Grant no. SEN-08/2016].

Author contributions

Venckunas T, Krusnauskas R, Snieckus A, Eimantas N, Baranauskiene N, Skurvydas A, Brazaitis M, Kamandulis S. TV, RK, AS, NE, NB, AS, MB, and SK designed the study; RK, AS, NE, NB and MB conducted the study; TV, RK, AS, NE, NB, AS, MB, and SK analysed the data; TV, RK, AS, AS and SK wrote the paper. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Venckunas
    • 1
  • R. Krusnauskas
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Snieckus
    • 1
  • N. Eimantas
    • 1
  • N. Baranauskiene
    • 1
  • A. Skurvydas
    • 1
  • M. Brazaitis
    • 1
  • S. Kamandulis
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Sport Science and InnovationsLithuanian Sports UniversityKaunasLithuania

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