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 (2023) 22, 688 - 699   DOI:

Research article
A Preliminary Investigation into the Frequency Dose Effects of High-Intensity Functional Training on Cardiometabolic Health
Leslie E. Smith1, , Gary P. Van Guilder1, Lance C. Dalleck1, Nicole R. Lewis1, Allison G. Dages1, Nigel K. Harris2
Author Information
1 Recreation, Exercise and Sport Science Department, Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO, USA
2 Human Potential Centre, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Leslie E. Smith
✉ Recreation, Exercise and Sport Science Department, Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO, USA
Publish Date
Received: 01-09-2023
Accepted: 17-10-2023
Published (online): 01-12-2023

The objective of this study was to explore the effects of three weekly frequency doses of high-intensity functional training (HIFT) on an array of cardiometabolic markers in adults with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Twenty-one men and women, randomized into one (HIFT1), two (HIFT2), or three (HIFT3) days per week of HIFT, completed 3-weeks of familiarization plus a 12-week progressive training program. Pre- and post-intervention, several cardiometabolic, body composition, oxygen consumption, metabolic syndrome severity, and perceptions of fitness measurements were assessed. Additionally, an exercise enjoyment survey was administered post-intervention. A Cohen’s d was used to demonstrate within-group change effect size. Although this study was not fully powered, a one-way and two-way ANOVA were used to compare the dose groups to provide provisional insights. No differences were found when frequency dose groups were compared. Many cardiometabolic, body composition, and fitness improvements were seen within each group, with clinically meaningful improvements in the metabolic syndrome severity score (MSSS) (HIFT1: -0.105, d = 0.28; HIFT2: -0.382, d = 1.20; HIFT3: -0.467, d = 1.07), waist circumference (HIFT1: -4.1cm, d = 3.33; HIFT2: -5.4cm, d = 0.89; HIFT3: -0.7cm, d = 0.20), and blood glucose (HIFT1: -9.5mg/dL, d = 0.98; HIFT2: -4.9mg/dL, d = 1.00; HIFT3: -1.7mg/dL, d = 0.23). All three groups similarly reported high exercise enjoyment and likeliness to continue after the intervention. In conclusion, HIFT performed once, twice, or thrice a week elicits improvements in MetS and is considered enjoyable. HIFT, even at a low weekly dose, therefore represents a potential strategy to reduce the global MetS burden.

Key words: Metabolic Syndrome, Lipids, Insulin, Ventilatory Threshold

           Key Points
  • High-intensity functional training performed once, twice, or thrice weekly for 12-weeks can improve metabolic syndrome severity.
  • High-intensity functional training is time-efficient, reported to be enjoyable, translatable to various physical and social settings, and requires minimal equipment.
  • High-intensity functional training is feasible for inexperienced individuals given adequate supervision and individualized prescription.
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