VO2 fluctuations are argued to be an important mechanism underpinning chronic adaptations following interval training. We compared the effect of exercise modality, continuous vs. intermittent realized at a same intensity, on electrical muscular activity, muscular oxygenation and on whole body oxygen uptake. Twelve participants (24 ± 5 years; VO2peak: 43 ± 6 mL· min−1·kg−1) performed (i) an incremental test to exhaustion to determine peak work rate (WRpeak); two randomized isocaloric exercises at 70%WRpeak; (ii) 1 bout of 30 min; (iii) 30 bouts of 1 min work intercepted with 1 min passive recovery. For electromyography, only the CON exercise showed change for the vastus lateralis root-mean-square (+6.4 ± 5.1%, P < .01, 95%CI 3.2, 8.3) and mean power frequency (−5.2 ± 4.8, P < .01, 95%CI −8.2, −3.5). Metabolic fluctuations (i.e. Oxygen Fluctuation Index and HHb Fluctuation Index) were higher in the intermittent modality, while post-exercise blood lactate concentrations (4.80 ± 1.50 vs. 2.32 ± 1.21 mM, respectively, for the CON and INT, P < .01, 95%CI 1.72, 3.12) and the time spent over 90% of VO2 target (1644 ± 152 vs. 356 ± 301 sec, respectively, for the CON and INT, P < .01, 95%CI 1130, 1446) were higher in the continuous modality. In conclusion, despite a similar energy expenditure and intensity, intermittent and continuous exercises showed two very different physiological responses. The intermittent modality would lead to a larger recruitment of fast twitch fibres that are less mitochondria-equipped and therefore may be more likely respondent to mitochondrial adaptations. In addition, this modality induces greater metabolic variations, a stimulus who could lead to mitochondrial development.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Sport Science on 05/07/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17461391.2018.1491627