Influence of high-intensity interval training on adaptations in well-trained cyclists

Document Type

Journal Article


National Strength and Conditioning Association


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




Laursen, P. B., Shing, C. M., Peake, J. M., Coombes, J. S., & Jenkins, D. G. (2005). Influence of high-intensity interval training on adaptations in well-trained cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(3), 527. Available here


The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of 3 different high-intensity interval training regimens on the first and second ventilatory thresholds (VT1 and VT2), anaerobic capacity (ANC), and plasma volume (PV) in well-trained endurance cyclists. Before and after 2 and 4 weeks of training, 38 well-trained cyclists (V̇ O2peak = 64.5 ± 5.2 ml·kg-1·min -1) performed (a) a progressive cycle test to measure V̇O2peak, peak power output (PPO), VT1, and VT 2; (b) a time to exhaustion test (Tmax) at their V̇O2peak power output (Pmax); and (c) a 40-km time-trial (TT40). Subjects were assigned to 1 of 4 training groups (group 1: n = 8, 8 X 60% Tmax at Pmax, 1:2 work-recovery ratio; group 2: n = 9, 8 X 60% Tmax at Pmax, recovery at 65% maximum heart rate; group 3: n = 10, 12 x 30 seconds at 175% PPO, 4.5-minute recovery; control group: n = 11). The TT40 performance, V̇O2peak, VT1, VT2, and ANC were all significantly increased in groups 1, 2, and 3 (p < 0.05) but not in the control group. However, PV did not change in response to the 4-week training program. Changes in TT40 performance were modestly related to the changes in V̇O2peak, VT1, VT2, and ANC (r = 0.41, 0.34, 0.42, and 0.40, respectively; all p < 0.05). In conclusion, the improvements in TT40 performance were related to significant increases in V̇O2peak, VT1, VT2, and ANC but were not accompanied by significant changes in PV. Thus, peripheral adaptations rather than central adaptations are likely responsible for the improved performances witnessed in well-trained endurance athletes following various forms of high-intensity interval training programs.





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