Hsu, H., Ivy, J. L., & Kuo, C.-H. (2008). Effect of high and moderate intensity training on endurance, glucose metabolism and parasympathetic activity. ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis, Presentation Number 1299.

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This study compared the effects of high intensity interval training and sprint training on aerobic performance, post-exercise glucose tolerance, and parasympathetic activity. Male basketball players were trained under two exercise intensities based on exercising lactate levels: 2 mmol/l as aerobic and 4 mmol/l as anaerobic activity. Ss were matched into a high intensity interval training group (N = 8; 7 repeats, two-minute intervals at 120-140% 4 mmol/l effort level, 1-min rest between intervals) and continuous training group (N = 8; continuous running changing speed every five minutes between 4 mmol/l and 2 mmol/l intensities). Seven 20-minute running training sessions over two weeks on alternate days were provided. Tests were a graded running test and a 20-minute shuttle run test. An oral glucose tolerance test evaluated glucose metabolism and heart rate variability evaluated the activity of the autonomic nervous system.

Both groups improved significantly at the 2 mmol/l running intensity. Only the high intensity interval training improved significantly at the 4 mmol/l intensity. Sympathetic nervous activity was increased in high intensity interval training, but inhibited by continuous training.

Implication. High intensity interval training improves both aerobic and anaerobic endurance and produces enhanced sympathetic activity. Continuous training increases aerobic endurance, improves glucose metabolism, but does not alter anaerobic endurance.

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