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Short Sprint Interval Training

Burgomaster et al (2003) reported 6 sessions of Short Sprint Interval Training
(SIT) over 2 weeks dramatically improved cycle endurance capacity in
recreationally trained men and women. During cycling at 80% of VO2max,
average time to exhaustion increased from approximately 25 minutes to 51
minutes (~101%)!
Hughes et al (2004) demonstrated 6 sessions of SIT Training over a 2 week
period increased muscle oxidative capacity and altered muscle glycogen
metabolism in recreationally active young men. SIT decreased the time required
to complete a fixed amount of work (10.4%), increased resting muscle glycogen
by 53%, and appeared to decrease reliance on non-oxidative energy metabolism.
SIT consisted of 4 to 7 "all out" 30 second Wingate tests, seperated by 4 minutes
of recovery.
Trembblay et al (1994) compared aerobic versus sprint exercise on the cycle
ergometer (see HIIT). The sprint group lost over 3 times as much body fat as the
aerobic group despite of only expending less than half as many calories during
It was recognized that creatine phosphate recovery can take about 4 minutes
between maximal sprints (McCartney 1986). Bogdanis (1995) reported after a 30
second cycle ergometer sprint, PCr resynthesis reached 64% of pre-exercise
levels after 90 seconds rest and 85% of pre-exercise levels after 6 minutes rest.
Full PCr repletion may take longer after repeated sprints than following a single
Trebblay used a passive recovery between sprint bouts, resting until heart rate
returned to 120 to 130 bpm. Yet, active recovery hastens local lactate clearance
(Corder 2000) and provides superior performance to passive rest in repeated
short-term, high intensity cycling sprint bouts (Signorile 1993).
SIT, or HIIT, not to be confused with traditional interval training is an advanced
technique to be used only after at least 6 weeks of a general conditioning
program. Here are guidelines and ideas for beginning a SIT program and other
ways to incorporate this sort of training into your routine:
General Guidelines
o Specific to movement
o Alternate progressively intense warmups between short active
recovery periods
o Near maximal sprints followed by 4 minute
o Repeat multiple times
o Begin with 2 to 3 workout bouts for your fist workouts
o Over the next weeks progressively increase duration, number of
bouts, and speed
o 2-3 non consecutive days
o Ideally days that weight training is not performed
Traditional Sprints (Outdoor on Track)
o 2 min brisk walk then 25% jog (30 sec)
o 2 min brisk walk then 50% run (20 sec)
o 2 min brisk walk then 90% sprint (15 sec)
o 3 min walk
o Sprint 100% (5 to 10 sec) then 4 minute walk
o Repeat multiple times
Incline Walking (Treadmill)
o 5 min walk (0 Grade) then brisk walk (Incline Grade)
o 3 min walk
o Peaks: Very brisk walk at highest incline that can be sustained for
30 to 60 seconds
o Valleys: 4 min walk
Stairs (Multiple Flights or Stadium Steps)
o 2 min brisk walk then walk up steps
o walk down steps, 2 min brisk walk, then jog up steps
o walk down steps, 2 min brisk walk then run up steps
o walk down steps, 3 min walk
o Sprint up steps
o walk down steps then 4 minute walk
Other Modes
Cycling hills
Jump Rope
Agility Drills
Parents with small children can perform HIIT while pushing a stroller or pulling a
wagon. The kids love it and will encourage you to do it regularly!
Sports training: Training mode should be very similar the sport activity (eg
runners should sprint, cyclers should cycle hills, etc.)
Fat loss: Exercises that utilize the largest muscles (Glutes and Quads) may have
greatest potential in increasing post exercise metabolism.

Bogdanis GC, Nevill ME, Boobis LH, Lakomy HK, Nevill AM (1995). Recovery of
power output and muscle metabolites following 30 s of maximal sprint cycling in
man. J Physiol, 15;482 ( Pt 2):467-80.
Burgomaster KA, Heigenhauser GJF, Gibala MJ (2003). Skeletal muscle metabolic
and performance adaptation after short sprint interval training (SIT), Medicine &
Science in Sports & Exercise, 36(5) S20.
Corder KP, Potteiger JA, Nau KL, Figoni SE, Hershberger SL (2000). Effects of
active and passive recovery conditions on blood lactate, rating of percieved
exertion, and performance during resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research, 14: 151-156.
Hughes, S. C., Burgomaster, K. A., Heigenhauser, G. J., & Gibala, M. J. (2003).
Six bouts of sprint interval training (SIT) improves intense aerobic cycling
performance and peak anaerobic power. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,
McCartney NL, Spriet LL, Heigenhauser GJ, Kowalchuk JM, Sutton J R, Jones NL
(1986). Muscle power and metabolism in maximal intermittent exercise. Journal
of Applied Physiology, Vol 60, Issue 4 1164-1169
Signorile JF, Ingalls C, Tremblay LM (1993). The effects of active and passive
recovery on short-term, high intensity power output. Can J Appl Physiol.
Trembblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. (1994). Impact of Exercise Intensity on
Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metablism, Metabolism. 43(7): 814-818.

Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle
Metabolism > Weight Management > Study

After a 5 week conditioning period on a recumbant cycle, The High Intensithy
Interval Training (HIIT) group perform sprints while the Endurance Training (ET)
group performed a more traditional aerobic protocol, throughout the remaining
15 weeks. Both groups progressed in intensity. At the conclusion of the study,
the HIIT group lost over 3 times as much subcutanious fat as the ET group
despite expending less than half as many calories. For every calorie expended
during HIIT, there was a nine fold loss of subcutanous body fat, as compared to
the ET group.
(20 week program, 17 subjects)
Mode (ergocycle)
High Intensity
Interval Training
Duration (minutes) 30 and increased to 30
4/wk and increased
to 5/wk
25 continuous
sessions; half
before week 5
Week 5-20: 19 long
& 16 short interval
60% HRR and
increased to 85%
70% HRR warmup
60% of max output
in 10 seconds & 70%
of max output in 90
seconds; increasing
5% every 3 weeks
Energy Expended
120.4 31.0 57.9 14.4
Fat Loss (mm) 4.5 13.9
HIIT Protocol
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
o 5 minute warm-up at 50% HRR
o Short-interval work
Initially 10 and later 15 bouts
15 seconds increasing to 30 seconds
o Long-interval
4 to 5 bouts
60 seconds increasing to 90 seconds
o Bouts separated by recovery periods allowing heart rate to return to
120 to 130 bpm
Creatine phosphate recovery may take 4 minutes to replete
beteem maximal bouts
Dependant Variables
Fat Loss measured in millimeters
o Difference of before and after sum of skin fold measurements
o Sum of skin folds
Triceps, Biceps, Calf, Subscapular, Suprailiac, Abdomen
Also 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) enzyme activity, a
marker of the activity of beta-oxidation, was significantly greater after the HIIT
Also see SIT Guidelines and Sample Programs.

Trembblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. (1994). Impact of Exercise Intensity on
Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metablism, Metabolism. 43(7): 814-818.