Effects of a 6-Week Upper Extremity Low-Volume, High Intensity Interval Training on Oxygen Uptake, Peak Power Output and Total Exercise Time

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The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of upper extremity (UE) high intensity interval training (HIIT) to UE continuous training (CT) when training at a similar intensity. 20 participants (mean age = 23 ± 3 yrs) were randomly assigned to either a HIIT (n = 10) or CT (n = 10) group. Participants completed a graded exercise test utilizing arm cranking prior to and following 6 wks (2 sessions · wk-1) of UE training. During sessions, HIIT performed 10 repetitions of 60 s of work at 92.3 ± 1.0% of the arm HRpeak (%aHRpeak) and 60 s of passive recovery (%aHRpeak = 73.0 ± 4.0%) yielding an average training intensity of 82.6 ± 1.5 %aHRpeak. CT exercised for 20 min. at an average intensity of 81.9 ± 2.2 %aHRpeak. Following training HIIT showed greater improvement in V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak compared to CT (Δ = 4.1 ml · min-¹ · kg-¹, 95%CI: 1.3 - 6.9 ml · min-¹ · kg-¹, p = .007). Total exercise time during the post-test GXT was also improved as a result of HIIT (Δ = 1.4 min, 95%CI: 0.4 - 2.3 min, p = .008). Both groups improved peak power output, but no difference was observed between them (Δ = 3.3 W, 95%CI: -3.3 - 9.9 W, p = .305). For a similar time investment, HIIT appeared to improve cardiopulmonary capacity and exercise time to a greater extent than CT and may be a time-efficient alternative for those who incorporate UE aerobic activity into a training program.

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