Gist, N. H., Freese, E. C., & Cureton, K. J. (2013). Comparison of responses to two high-intensity intermittent exercise protocols. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 372.

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"Repeated bouts of supramaximal-interval cycling, or sprint-interval training, confer cardiorespiratory and aerobic metabolic adaptations similar to longer-duration traditional endurance training. Whether or not high-intensity interval calisthenics exercise elicits the same responses is unknown.

This study compared peak cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and perceptual responses to acute bouts of sprint-interval cycling and a high-intensity intermittent calisthenics exercise protocol consisting of modified “burpees”. Ss (M = 8; F = 3)¸ moderately-trained members of the University of Georgia’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) Program, completed four testing sessions across nine days with each session separated by 48-72 hours. Peak cardiorespiratory values were measured using a discontinuous treadmill running protocol. Using a protocol of four repeated bouts of 30-sec “all-out” efforts interspersed with 4-minute active-recovery periods, responses to sprint-interval cycling and high-intensity intermittent calisthenics exercise were recorded and classified relative to individual peak values.

Mean values for %VO2peak and %HRpeak were not significantly different between the conditions. Peak blood lactate concentration and ratings of perceived exertion for sprint-interval cycling and high-intensity intermittent calisthenics exercise were significantly different.

Implication. A low-volume, high-intensity bout of repeated whole-body calisthenics exercise induced vigorous metabolic and cardiovascular responses similar to an “all-out” sprint-interval cycling protocol. These results suggest that in addition to the benefit of reduced time commitment, a high-intensity interval protocol of calisthenics may confer physiological adaptations and performance improvements similar to those reported for sprint-interval cycling.

[Editor's note: As has been seen in other studies, changes in physiological factors as a result of training do not necessarily indicate that cycling performance would be improved. In this study, sprint-cycling is only like to be improved by sprint-cycling training. General physiological test results revealed on a running treadmill are not generally causally linked to specific sprint-cycling performance.]

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