Changes in performance, muscle metabolites, enzymes and fibre types after short sprint training


In contrast to endurance training, little research has been carried out to investigate the effects of short (<10 s) sprint training on performance, muscle metabolism and fibre types. Nine fit male subjects performed a mean of 16 outdoor sprint running training sessions over 6 weeks. Distances sprinted were 30–80 m at 90–100% maximum speed and between 20 and 40 sprints were performed in each session. Endurance (maximal oxygen consumption; V˙O2 max), sprint (10 m and 40 m times), sustained sprint (supramaximal treadmill run) and repeated sprint (6 × 40 m sprints, 24 s recovery between each) performance tests were performed before and after training. Muscle biopsy samples (vastus lateralis) were also taken to examine changes in metabolites, enzyme activities and fibre types. After training, significant improvements were seen in 40 m time (P < 0.01), supramaximal treadmill run time (P < 0.05), repeated sprint performance (P < 0.05) and V˙O2 max (P < 0.01). Resting muscle concentrations of ATP and phosphocreatine did not change. Phosphorylase activity increased (P < 0.025), citrate synthase activity decreased (P < 0.01), but no significant changes were recorded in myokinase and phosphofructokinase activities. The proportion of type II muscle fibres increased significantly (P < 0.05). These results demonstrate that 6 weeks of short sprint training can improve endurance, sprint and repeated sprint ability in fit subjects. Increases in the proportion of type II muscle fibres are also possible with this type of training.

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Accepted: 5 January 1998

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Dawson, B., Fitzsimons, M., Green, S. et al. Changes in performance, muscle metabolites, enzymes and fibre types after short sprint training. Eur J Appl Physiol 78, 163–169 (1998).

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  • Key words Maximal intensity
  • Phosphagens
  • Type I and II muscle fibres
  • Maximal oxygen consumption
  • Enzyme activities