Ryan, D. M., Carr, N. S., Sawyer, B. J., Angadi, S. S., Chisum, J., & Gaesser, G. A. (2012). Effect of high-intensity interval training on 2-kilometer ergometer time-trial performance in female high school rowers. Presentation 1108 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study determined the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training compared to standard endurance training on improving 2-kilometer (km) ergometer time-trial performance in female high school rowers (N = 23). Ss were randomly assigned to either high-intensity interval training or standard endurance training groups. In addition to their regular training, for four weeks Ss completed a total of 12 training sessions on a rowing ergometer. High-intensity interval training sessions consisted of six 30-second bouts of “sprint” rowing (modified Wingate tests) with four minutes of light active recovery in between each bout. Standard endurance training sessions consisted of one 30-minute continuous bout of exercise at 60-70% VO2max. Before and after the training period, Ss completed a 2-km time-trial and an incremental exercise test for determination of VO2max on a rowing ergometer.

For both high-intensity interval training and standard endurance training groups there was no significant improvement in 2-km ergometer time-trial performances. There was no significant difference between the different training groups. VO2max was not changed following training. Among all Ss, changes in 2-km time-trials were not significantly correlated with the changes in VO2max.

Implication. A short-period of altered short-duration training formats does not yield any training effects beyond those produced by a large volume of usual training. In this study, high-intensity interval training and standard endurance training on a rowing ergometer did not produce any significant differences, probably because the amount of experimental training was of insufficient volume to produce any clear effects. A longer training program on a larger sample is likely needed to determine if there are differences between high-intensity interval training and standard endurance training in rowing.

Of particular importance was the lack of association between VO2max and 2-km time-trial performances. Some sports orient training toward changing physiological measures such as VO2max. When change in that variable is not associated with actual performance, the folly of training "scientifically"/"physiologically" for such things as aerobic and anaerobic capacity improvements is exposed.

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