Twelve weeks of low volume sprint interval training improves cardio-metabolic health outcomes in overweight females

Shengyan Sun, Haifeng Zhang, Zhaowei Kong, Qingde Shi, Tomas K. Tong, Jinlei Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study compared the effects of 12-week sprint interval training (SIT), high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on cardiorespiratory fitness (V̇O 2peak ), body mass and insulin sensitivity in overweight females. Forty-two overweight women (age 21.2 ± 1.4 years, BMI 26.3 ± 2.5 kg·m −2 ) were randomized to the groups of SIT (80 × 6-s sprints + 9-s rest), and isoenergetic (300KJ) HIIT (~9 × 4-min cycling at 90% V̇O 2peak  + 3-min rest) and MICT (cycling at 60% V̇O 2peak for ~ 61-min). Training intervention was performed 3 d·week −1 for 12 weeks. After intervention, all three groups induced the same improvement in V̇O 2peak (~ +25%, p < 0.001) and a similar reduction in body mass (~–5%, p < 0.001). Insulin sensitivity and fasting insulin levels were improved significantly on post-training measures in SIT and HIIT by ~26% and ~39% (p < 0.01), respectively, but remain unchanged in MICT. In contrast, fasting glucose levels were only reduced with MICT (p < 0.01). The three training strategies are equally effective in improving V̇O 2peak and reducing body mass, however, the SIT is time-efficient. High-intensity training (i.e. SIT and HIIT) seems to be more beneficial than MICT in improving insulin sensitivity. Abbreviations: BMI: body mass index; CVD: cardiovascular disease; HIEG: hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic glucose; HIIT: high-intensity interval training; HOMA-IR: homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; HR: heart rate; MICT: moderate-intensity continuous training; RPE: ratings of perceived exertion; SIT: sprint interval training; T2D: type 2 diabetes; V̇O 2peak : peak oxygen consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1264
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019


  • Exercise
  • cardio-metabolic health
  • interval training
  • weight reduction


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