Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 1 - 12

Research article
Perceptual and Cardiorespiratory Responses to High-Intensity Interval Exercise in Adolescents: Does Work Intensity Matter?
Adam A. Malik1,2, Craig A. Williams1, Kathryn L. Weston3, Alan R. Barker1, 
Author Information
1 Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
2 Exercise and Sports Science Programme, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
3 School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK

Alan R. Barker
✉ Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, St Luke’s Campus, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK
Publish Date
Received: 31-08-2018
Accepted: 15-10-2018
Published (online): 11-02-2019

High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) may not elicit prominent unpleasant feelings even with elevated perceived exertion and physiological stress in adolescents. However, the influence of different HIIE work intensities on the affective experience and cardiorespiratory responses is unknown. This study examined the acute affective, enjoyment, perceived exertion and cardiorespiratory responses to HIIE with different work intensities in adolescents. Participants (n = 16; 8 boys; age 12.0 ± 0.3 years) performed, on separate days, HIIE conditions consisting of 8 x 1-minute work-intervals at 70%, 85%, or 100% peak power separated by 75 seconds recovery at 20 W. Affect, enjoyment and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded before, during, and after HIIE. Heart rate (HR) and oxygen uptake were collected during HIIE. Affect declined in all conditions (p < 0.01) but 100%HIIE elicited significantly lower affect than 70%HIIE and 85%HIIE at work-interval 8 (all p < 0.02, ES > 1.74; 70%HIIE = 2.5 ± 0.8; 85%HIIE = 1.1 ± 1.5; 100%HIIE = -1.5 ± 1.4 on feeling scale). Similar enjoyment was evident during and after all conditions (all p > 0.44). RPE was significantly higher during 100%HIIE than 70%HIIE and 85%HIIE across all work-intervals (all p < 0.01, ES > 1.56). The majority of the participants attained ≥90%HRmax during 85%HIIE (87%) and 100%HIIE (100%), but not during 70%HIIE (6%). Affect responses during HIIE are dependent on the intensity of the work-interval and are not entirely negative (unpleasant feelings). Despite similar enjoyment, positive affect experienced during 70%HIIE and 85%HIIE could serve as a strategy to encourage exercise adoption and adherence in adolescents, but only 85%HIIE elicits sufficient HR stimulus to facilitate potential health benefits.

Key words: Affective valence, exercise motivation, interval exercise, work intensity, youth

           Key Points
  • Affect responses during high-intensity interval exercise are dependent on work intensity.
  • High-intensity interval exercise performed at 70% and 85% of peak power preserved positive affective responses (pleasurable feeling) but not at 100% of peak power.
  • Similar enjoyment levels were evident during and after high-intensity interval exercise in all conditions.
  • High-intensity interval exercise performed at 85% of peak power could serve as an optimal protocol when considering the impact of affect responses and the heart rate stimulus to facilitate exercise adherence and health promotion in youth.
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