Kelly, D. T., Cregg, C. J., Tobin, C., O’Connor, P. L., & Moyna, N. M. (2014). Effect of interval and endurance training on selected physiological and performance indices in Gaelic football. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 942.

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"Gaelic football is a field-based sport characterized by irregular changes of pace and anaerobic effort interspersed with periods of light to moderate aerobic activity. Mean sprint distance ranges from 10-30 m and a high-level of aerobic conditioning is required to generate and maintain power output during repeated high intensity activities. High-volume endurance training has traditionally been used to improve aerobic capacity in club-level Gaelic football players. While ideal for developing aerobic capacity, this type of training is extremely time consuming. In contrast, two to four weeks of low-volume high-intensity interval training has been shown to improve VO2max to a similar extent as high-volume endurance training in college-age students."

This study compared the effects of two weeks of high-volume endurance training and low-volume high-intensity interval training on VO2max, running economy, blood lactate levels, and time-trial performance in club-level Gaelic football players. Ss were randomly assigned to a low-volume high-intensity interval training (N = 7) or a high-volume endurance training (N = 8) group. Ss trained three days per week for two weeks. Factors were measured at baseline and after two weeks.

VO2max and time-trial performance increased significantly in both training groups in response to the two-week training programs. There was no change in running economy or lactate threshold in either group. Running velocity at 4 mmol/l increased in the endurance training group and decreased in the high-intensity interval training group. Blood lactate levels were higher after each training session in the high-intensity interval training group. Total training time was 8% (18 minutes vs. 300 minutes) and total exercise-only time was 34% (102 minutes vs. 300 minutes) in the high-intensity interval training group when compared to the values for the endurance training group. Despite the large difference in total training time and total exercise time, high-intensity interval training still resulted in similar VO2max and time-trial performance factors.

Implication. Low-volume high-intensity interval training is a time efficient training method for improving aerobic capacity and time-trial performance, and maintaining indices of running economy and lactate threshold in Gaelic football players. High-intensity interval training would seem to be most appropriate for rehabilitation training after injury and for maintaining high fitness levels throughout a season of competitions.

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