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 (2016) 15, 208 - 213

Research article
Cardiorespiratory Effects of One-Legged High-Intensity Interval Training in Normoxia and Hypoxia: A Pilot Study
Verena Menz , Mona Semsch, Florian Mosbach, Martin Burtscher
Author Information
Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, University Innsbruck, Austria

Verena Menz
✉ Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, University Innsbruck, Fürstenweg 185, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Publish Date
Received: 23-11-2015
Accepted: 01-02-2016
Published (online): 23-05-2016
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A higher-than-average maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), is closely associated with decreased morbidity and mortality and improved quality of life and acts as a marker of cardiorespiratory fitness. Although there is no consensus about an optimal training method to enhance VO2max, nevertheless training of small muscle groups and repeated exposure to hypoxia seem to be promising approaches. Therefore, this study was aimed at gaining innovative insights into the effects of small muscle group training in normoxia and hypoxia. Thirteen healthy participants were randomly assigned to the hypoxic (HG, n = 7) or normoxic (NG, n = 6) training group. Both groups completed nine high-intensity interval training sessions in 3 wks. The NG performed the training in normoxia (FiO2: 0.21; ~ 600 m) and the HG in hypoxia (FiO2: 0.126; ~ 4500 m). Each session consisted of 4 x 4 min one-legged cycling at 90% of maximal heart rate separated by 4 min recovery periods. Before and after the intervention period, VO2max and peak power output (Wmax) and responses to submaximal cycling (100 and 150 watts) were assessed in a laboratory cycling test. Peak power output significantly improved within both groups (9.6 ± 4.8% and 12.6 ± 8.9% for HG and NG, respectively) with no significant interaction (p = 0.277). However, VO2max only significantly increased after training in hypoxia from 45.4 ± 10.1 to 50.0 ± 9.8 ml/min/kg (10.8 ± 6.0%; p = 0.002) with no significant interaction (p = 0.146). The maximal O2-pulse improved within the HG and demonstrated a significant interaction (p = 0.040). One-legged cycling training significantly improved VO2max and peak power output. Training under hypoxic conditions may generate greater effects on VO2max than a similar training in normoxia and is considered as a promising training method for improving cardiorespiratory fitness.

Key words: Local muscle training, altitude training, exercise physiology

           Key Points
  • Nine sessions of one-legged high-intensity interval training significantly improved physical fitness.
  • One-legged hypoxic training significantly improved Wmax, VO2max and submaximal performance.
  • One-legged training in normoxia only improved Wmax but did not significantly improve VO2max and submaximal performance.
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