Kilpatrick, M. W., & Greeley, S. (2013). Exertional responses to interval and continuous cycle ergometer exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 1241.

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This study compared sprint-interval and continuous training on exertional responses obtained pre-exercise, during exercise, and upon completion of exercise in moderately fit Ss (M = 12; F = 12). Ss completed a maximal cycle-ergometer test to determine ventilatory threshold for use in the development of four 20-minute experimental trials: 1) continuous training at ventilatory threshold, 2) continuous training above ventilatory threshold, 3) sprint intervals at ventilatory threshold, and 4) sprint intervals above ventilatory threshold. Trials were 20 minutes in length and intervals used 60-second segments and a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. Ratings of perceived exertion were assessed before, during, and after sessions.

Predicted exertion was highest in the continuous-heavy trial. Exertion increased from the beginning to the end in all trials, with the greatest increases occurring within the continuous-heavy trial. Session-rating of perceived exertion values post-exercise were also highest for the continuous-heavy trial.

Implication. Interval training protocols produce perceptions of effort that are less severe than continuous-heavy exercise but similar to moderate-continuous exercise. Interval training is seen as a better format for achieving substantial work in tolerable amounts.

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