Why sprint interval training is inappropriate for a largely sedentary population

Sarah Hardcastle, Hannah Ray, Louisa Beale, Martin S. Hagger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We contend that although SIT appears to be an effective exercise modality for physiological benefit, it is unlikely to be effective as a means to promote regular participation in physical activity in a largely sedentary population. We have argued that SIT is inappropriate for sedentary individuals because engaging in such training requires high levels of motivation and confidence. In addition, high intensity exercise is likely to evoke to negative affect which may lead to subsequent avoidance of further exercise. SIT programmes of exercise are also relatively complex and involve a high degree of self-regulation, which may also be a barrier to continuation in those who are uninitiated. we contend that SIT should not necessarily be considered time efficient as a session would likely last at least 30 min. We would like to see further research that addresses the motivational factors and responses of sedentary people to SIT. Specifically, we propose the following research agenda to improve knowledge of SIT in sedentary populations: (1) the acceptability of, and affective responses to, SIT programmes; (2) the social cognitive and motivational factors that may be related to participation in, and adherence to, SIT programmes; (3) the degree of adherence to SIT programmes compared to programmes of continuous aerobic exercise of moderate intensity; and (4) whether SIT programmes can be transferred to natural settings outside of the supervised laboratory environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Hardcastle, Ray, Beale and Hagger. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • exercise psychology
  • sprint interval training
  • exercise intensity
  • behavior-change
  • feeling states
  • exercise adherence


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