4 years ago

Effects of self-paced interval and continuous training on health markers in women

Jonathan Fulford, Luke J. Connolly, Andrew M. Jones, Stephen J. Bailey, Peter Krustrup, Chris Smietanka



To compare the effects of self-paced high-intensity interval and continuous cycle training on health markers in premenopausal women.


Forty-five inactive females were randomised to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT; n = 15), continuous training (CT; n = 15) or an inactive control (CON; n = 15) group. HIIT performed 5 × 5 min sets comprising repetitions of 30-s low-, 20-s moderate- and 10-s high-intensity cycling with 2 min rest between sets. CT completed 50 min of continuous cycling. Training was completed self-paced, 3 times weekly for 12 weeks.


Peak oxygen uptake (16 ± 8 and 21 ± 12%), resting heart rate (HR) (−5 ± 9 and −4 ± 7 bpm) and visual and verbal learning improved following HIIT and CT compared to CON (P < 0.05). Total body mass (−0.7 ± 1.4 kg), submaximal walking HR (−3 ± 4 bpm) and verbal memory were enhanced following HIIT (P < 0.05), whereas mental well-being, systolic (−5 ± 6 mmHg) and mean arterial (−3 ± 5 mmHg) blood pressures were improved following CT (P < 0.05). Participants reported similar levels of enjoyment following HIIT and CT, and there were no changes in fasting serum lipids, fasting blood [glucose] or [glucose] during an oral glucose tolerance test following either HIIT or CT (P > 0.05). No outcome variable changed in the CON group (P > 0.05).


Twelve weeks of self-paced HIIT and CT were similarly effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness, resting HR and cognitive function in inactive premenopausal women, whereas blood pressure, submaximal HR, well-being and body mass adaptations were training-type-specific. Both training methods improved established health markers, but the adaptations to HIIT were evoked for a lower time commitment.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-017-3715-9

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-017-3715-9

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