Short-Term Psychological and Physiological Effects of Varying the Volume of High-Intensity Interval Training in Healthy Men

Daniel G. da Silva Machado, Eduardo C. Costa, Hannah Ray, Louisa Beale, Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, Luiz F. de Farias-Junior, Sarah Hardcastle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We assessed the short-term effects of varying the volume of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on psychological and physiological responses of 23 healthy adult males (M = 21 years; M peak oxygen uptake [VO2peak] = 47.2 ml·kg−1·min−1). Participants were randomly assigned to low- and very-low-volume HIIT groups and engaged in nine supervised exercise sessions over three weeks. The low-volume HIIT group performed 8-12 60-second work bouts on a cycle ergometer at the peak power output achieved during the incremental test, interspersed by 75 seconds of low-intensity active recovery. The very-low-volume HIIT performed 4-6 work bouts with the same intensity, duration, and rest intervals. During training, participants’ ratings of perceived exertion (Borg Category Ratio-10 scale) and their affective responses (Feeling Scale −5/+5) during the last 15 seconds of each work bout were recorded. Physiological data were VO2peak, endurance, and anaerobic performance before and after the intervention. Throughout training, participants in the very-low-volume group (relative to the low-volume group) reported lower ratings of perceived exertion in Week 1 (M = 4.1 vs. M = 6.3; p < .01) and Week 3 (M = 4.0 vs. M = 6.2; p < .01), and higher affective response in these same two weeks (Week 1: M = 1.9 vs. M = 0.3; p = .04; Week 3: M = 2.1 vs. M = 0.9; p = .06). Regarding physical fitness, Wingate peak power increased significantly after training in the very-low-volume HIIT group (M = 1,049 W vs. M = 1,222 W; p < .05), but not in the low-volume HIIT group (M = 1,050 W vs. M = 1,076 W). No significant change was found after training in physiological variables of peak power output, VO2peak, and endurance performance. In summary, in this short-term training period, the very-low-volume HIIT enhanced anaerobic capacity and was perceived as less strenuous and more pleasurable than low-volume HIIT.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-142
    Number of pages24
    JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2018


    • affective responses
    • interval training
    • feeling states
    • perceived exertion
    • aerobic fitness
    • physiological responses


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