Eur J Appl Physiol (2000) 81: 188±196 Ó Springer-Verlag PDF

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Eur J Appl Physiol (2000) 81: 188±196 Ó Springer-Verlag 2000 ORIGINAL ARTICLE Ve ronique L Billat á Jean Slawinski á Valery Bocquet Alexandre Demarle á Laurent La tte Patrick Chassaing á Jean-Pierre Koralsztein

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Eur J Appl Physiol (2000) 81: 188±196 Ó Springer-Verlag 2000 ORIGINAL ARTICLE Ve ronique L Billat á Jean Slawinski á Valery Bocquet Alexandre Demarle á Laurent La tte Patrick Chassaing á Jean-Pierre Koralsztein Intermittent runs at the velocity associated with maximal oxygen uptake enables subjects to remain at maximal oxygen uptake for a longer time than intense but submaximal runs Accepted: 27 July 1999 Abstract Interval training consisting of brief high intensity repetitive runs (30 s) alternating with periods of complete rest (30 s) has been reported to be e cient in improving maximal oxygen uptake ( _V O 2 max ) and to be tolerated well even by untrained persons However, these studies have not investigated the e ects of the time spent at _V O 2 max which could be an indicator of the bene t of training It has been reported that periods of continuous running at a velocity intermediate between that of the lactate threshold (v LT ) and that associated with _V O 2 max (v ) can allow subjects to reach _V O 2 max due to an additional slow component of oxygen uptake Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the times spent at _V O 2 max during an interval training programme and during continuous strenuous runs Eight long-distance runners took part in three maximal tests on a synthetic track (400 m) whilst breathing through a portable, telemetric metabolic analyser: they comprised rstly, an incremental test which determined v LT, _V O 2 max [598 (SD 54) ml á min )1 á kg )1 ], v [185 (SD 12) km á h )1 ], secondly, an interval training protocol consisting of alternately running at 100% and at 50% of v (30 s each); and thirdly, a continuous high intensity run at v LT + 50% of the difference between v LT and v [ie v D50 : 169 (SD 100) km á h )1 and 913 (SD 16)% v ] The rst and third tests were performed in random order and at 2-day intervals In each case the subjects warmed-up for 15 min at 50% of v The results showed that in more than half of the cases the v D50 run allowed the subjects to VL Billat (&) á J Slawinski á V Bocquet á A Demarle á L La tte á P Chassaing Laboratoire d'eâ tude de la motriciteâ humaine, Universite de Lille II, Faculte des Sciences du Sport 9, rue de l'universiteâ, 59790, Ronchin, France J-P Koralsztein Centre de Me decine du Sport Caisse Centrale des Activite s Sociales, 2 Avenue Richerand, F Paris, France Fax: reach _V O 2 max, but the time spent speci cally at _V O 2 max was much less than that during the alternating low/high intensity exercise protocol [2 min 42 s (SD 3 min 09 s) for v D50 run vs 7 min 51 s (SD 6 min 38 s) in 19 (SD 5) interval runs] The blood lactate responses were less pronounced in the interval runs than for the v D50 runs, but not signi cantly so [68 (SD 22) mmol á l )1 vs 75 (SD 21) mmol á l )1 ] These results do not allow us to speculate as to the chronic e ects of these two types of training at _V O 2 max Key words Intermittent exercise á Running á Training á Oxygen consumption Introduction Interval training was rst described by Reindell and Roskamm (1959) and Reindell et al (1962), and was popularised in the 1950s by the Olympic champion, Emil Zatopek Middle and long-distance runners have since used it to train at running velocities close to their own competition velocities Daniels et al (1984) have de ned the parameter v as the velocity (v) associated with maximal oxygen uptake ( ) determined by an incremental exercise test on a treadmill Furthermore, this v has been found to be close to the average velocity maintained over m (Daniels et al 1984; Padilla et al 1992; Lacour et al 1991) Within the same group of researchers, Gorostiag et al (1991) have shown that interval training with repetitions of 30-s exercise at 100% v, separated by 30-s rest, produced larger increases in _V O 2 max than did continuous training at 50% v Both this continuous training or the intermittent style only elicited an oxygen uptake ( _V O 2 ) of 70% of _V O 2 max In addition to the above studies, it has been accepted for a long time that a typical endurance type training programme would consist of repeated 1±8 min runs at 90%±100% v (Fox 1975) All of these studies have aimed to improve _V O 2 max and have been based on the assumption that the more speci c the 189 stimulus, (ie taxing the cardiovascular and aerobic enzyme systems to their maximum) the greater the improvement However, none of these studies have examined the e ect of the time the athlete spent at _V O 2 max It is of note therefore that in none of the work cited was it checked to see if the subjects reached _V O 2 max during the interval training sessions However, Astrand et al (1960) have reported that interval training of 30-s runs at v alternating with rest of the same duration elicited a _V O 2 equal to 65% of _V O 2 max accompanied by a very low blood lactate concentration (22 mmol á l )1 ) Astrand et al (1960) have also reported that interval training using shorter repetitions (15 s at v alternating with 15 s of complete rest) was similarly incapable of bringing _V O 2 to the maximal level However, it has been suggested that continuous running above the running velocity at which the critical velocity (CV) is attained (Moritani et al 1981) could be more e cient at maintaining a metabolic rate closer to _V O 2 max than interval training at v and thus elicit a more pronounced training stimulus Indeed, it has now been recognised that continuous running, at an appropriate velocity, causes runners to reach _V O 2 max (Gaesser and Poole 1996) Indeed, previous studies have reported that in ``severe exercise'' an additional slow phase of increase in _V O 2 (the _V O 2 slow component) is superimposed upon the underlying _V O 2 kinetics and _V O 2 continues to rise until the end of the test or until exhaustion, and will eventually drive _V O 2 to the _V O 2 max (Poole et al 1988; Whipp 1994) Therefore, using this _V O 2 slow component, it might be possible to elicit _V O 2 max for an extended period, provided that the subjects run for a su ciently long period at this supra-cv We are not aware of any published work which compares the training e ect of time spent at _V O 2 max during interval training with the time spent at _V O 2 max during a strenuous continuous run which elicits _V O 2 max using the slow component phenomenon Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the time spent running at _V O 2 max in a commonly used interval training protocol (30s at v Ð30s at 50% of v ) with that achieved during a run at a continuous supra-cv (v D50 ) We speculated that this could be a method for eliciting _V O 2 max at a slower running velocity We hypothesised that running at v D50 would allow subjects to remain closer to _V O 2 max for a longer period than intermittent running at v whilst eliciting a similar accumulation of lactate in the blood Methods Subjects Eight endurance trained male athletes [mean age 34 (SD 6) years, mean height 1750 (SD 5) cm and mean bodymass 69 (SD 4) kg] volunteered to participate in this study They trained four times a week [mean 60 (SD 16) km á week )1 ] with continuous running below or at their lactate threshold (LT; ie 50%±80% v _ V O 2 max ) but were unfamiliar with either severe intermittent or continuous runs Prior to participation, all the subjects provided voluntary written informed consent in accordance with the guidelines of the University of Lille Experiment design The subjects took part in three all-out tests They did only one test on any given day and tests were each separated by 48 h or more, but all were completed within a week All the tests took place on a synthetic 400-m track at the same time of day (between 10 h AM and 16 h PM) in an ambient temperature of 19±22 C without winds The subjects were required to be rested when they reported to the track and not to train hard (easy jogging of 40 min only on the day separating any two tests) They were asked to refrain from consuming food or beverages containing ca eine before the test On the track runners followed a pacing cyclist travelling at the required velocity The cyclist received audio cues via a Walkman (Sony), the cue rhythm determining the sped needed to cover 50 m Visual marks were set at 50-m intervals along the track (inside the rst lane) The rst test was incremental for the determination of _V O 2 max, v _ V O 2 max and the running velocity at the lactate threshold (v LT ) making it possible to calculate mid-point velocity between v LT and v _ V O 2 max (v D50 ) After this preliminary test the runners trained in random order, using two types of exercise until they were exhausted: (1) continuous running at v D50, (2) intermittent runs of 30-s duration alternating between 100% and 50% v _ V O 2 max Both of these types of training were preceded by 15 min of warming-up at 50% v _ V O 2 max Data collection procedures Protocol of and v V _ O 2max determination The initial velocity was set at 10 km á h )1 and increased by 1 km á h )1 every 2 min Each stage was followed by a 30-s rest when a capillary blood sample was obtained from the nger tip to be analysed for lactate concentration (YSI 27, Ohio, Ill) Measurement of _V O 2 was carried out throughout each test using a telemetric system (Cosmed K4b 2, Rom, Italy; Hausswirth et al 1997; McLaughlin et al 1999) Expired gases were measured breath-by-breath and averaged every 15 s Before each test, the O 2 analysis system was calibrated using ambient air, the O 2 concentration of which was assumed to be 209%, and a gas of known CO 2 concentration 5% (K4 instruction manual) The calibration of the turbine owmeter of the K4 was performed with a 3-l syringe (Quinton Instruments, Seattle, Wash, USA) The _V O 2 max was de ned as the highest _V O 2 attained in two successive 15 s In this incremental protocol, v was de ned as the lowest running velocity maintained for more than 1 min which elicited _V O 2 max (Billat and Koralsztein 1996) If an athlete achieved _V O 2 max during a stage that was not maintained for 1 min, the speed during the previous stage was recorded as v If the velocity at fatigue was only maintained for 1 min (half of the stage duration), then v was considered to be equal to the velocity during the previous stage plus half the velocity increase between the last two stages, ie 1 km á h )1 /2 = 05 km á h )1 (Kuipers et al 1985) In this study, LT was de ned as the _V O 2 corresponding to the starting point of an accelerated accumulation of lactate in the blood at around 4 mmol á l )1 and expressed as % _V O 2 max (Aunola and Rusko 1984) Although the step-like increase in exercise intensity does not allow precise determination of the blood LT, the incremental test provides a useful index to delineate the level at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood This ``threshold'' is in accordance with that proposed by Aunola and Rusko (1984) which is closer to the onset of blood lactate accumulation de ned by SjoÈ din and Jacobs (1981), rather than LT of Farrel et al (1979) or LT determined by gas exchange (Wasserman et al 1994) 190 Intermittent exercise The intermittent training session consisted of alternating 30-s runs at 100% and 50% of if v For instance, a runner who had a v equal to 20 km á h )1 (555 m á s )1 ) was required to cover 166 m in the rst 30 s and half of this distance in the following 30 s Blood samples for lactate determination were collected after the warm-up, at the 3rd, 6th and last minute of the protocol At the 3rd min the samples were taken after 30 s at 50% v with the subject at rest for 10 s, and at the last minute the samples were taken after 30 s of jogging at v Constant run at v D50 After the warm-up the runners had to maintain their v D50 (about 90% v in these subjects) as long as possible until they were exhausted For each of these two tests, time spent at _V O 2 max was determined from the time during which _V O 2 was at least equal to _V O 2 max minus 21 ml á min )1 á kg )1 This criterion has been used by Taylor et al (1955) to determine _V O 2 max in an incremental test The _V O 2 max determined in the incremental test was compared with peak _V O 2 reached in the continuous test (time limit test) The highest 15-s value for _V O 2 was recorded as _V O 2 max ; values for heart rate (f c ) from the 15-s period when _V O 2 max was reached were recorded as the maximal values for these variables Blood samples for lactate determination were collected after the warmingup, and at 1 and 3 min after the onset of the exercise The highest of these values was taken as the maximal blood lactate concentration for this all-out run at v D50 Data analyses A one-way analysis of variance for repeated measurements and located by Sche eâ 's post-hoc tests was used to compare f c, blood lactate concentration and _V O 2 between the incremental test and the two training procedures Student's t-test, for paired data, was used to compare time to exhaustion at _V O 2 max in the constant and intermittent runs Simple-wise regression was used to examine the relationship between the times speci cally spent at _V O 2 max during the two training protocols The correlation test of Pearson was used to correlate the two times spent at _V O 2 max in the two training protocols Statistical signi cance was set at P 005 Results Incremental test The data obtained from individuals in the incremental test are presented in Table 1 It is salient to not that the subjects had a low maximal aerobic power [ _V O 2 max 598 (SD 54) ml á min )1 á kg )1, v _ V O 2 max 185 (SD 12) km á h )1 ] and a high relative velocity at LT [825 (SD 26)% v _ V O 2 max, 152 (SD 09) km á h )1 ], in accordance with their type of training (slow short distance) Hence their v D50 was set at a high percentage of v _ V O 2 max [913 (SD 16)% of v _ V O 2 max, 169 (SD 10) km á h )1 ] Therefore, the di erence in absolute velocity between v D50 and v _ V O 2 max was 16 km á h )1 Continuous run at v D50 Figure 1 shows the time course of _V O 2 for the intermittent exercise with the responses for the continuous running sessions superimposed Table 2 summarises the responses of f c, _V O 2, and blood lactate concentration and time to exhaustion during v D50 all-out run The subjects maintained the required velocity for 8 min 20 s (SD 1 min 45 s) Seven runners out of the eight developed a _V O 2 slow component [D _V O 2 150 ml á min )1 between the 3rd and the 6th min of exercise ± average = 291 (SD 153) ml á min )1 ] Five runners out of the eight reached their _V O 2 max and they maintained it for an average of 4 min 51 s (SD 1 min 30 s) which for these runners was equivalent to 63 (SD 10)% of total time to exhaustion at this v D50 During this v D50 all-out run, f c reached an average of 96% of the maximal f c obtained in the incremental test Table 1 Data obtained from individual subjects in the incremental test v _ V O 2 max Velocity associated with _V O 2 max, _V O 2 max maximal oxygen uptake, f c heart rate, v LT velocity of lactate threshold Subjects v _ V O 2 max (km á h )1 ) _V O 2 max (ml á min )1 á kg )1 ) (ml á min )1 ) f cmax (beats á min )1 ) Blood lactate (mmol á l )1 ) v LT (km á h )1 ) v LT % v _V O 2 max ) f c at v LT (beats á min )1 ) Mean SD 191 Fig 1 Time course of oxygen consumption ( _V O 2 ) during v D50 ( lled symbols) and intermittent exercise (un lled symbols) The v D50 was a running velocity midway between those at which the lactate threshold and maximal oxygen uptake occurred Intermittent run at v _ V O 2 max Table 3 summarises continuous e ects of the intermittent run on the responses of f c, _V O 2, blood lactate concentration and the time to reach exhaustion The f c reached 99% of the maximal f c obtained in the incremental test Blood lactate concentration was lower for this intermittent training run than for the v D50 run, but 192 Table 2 Data obtained from individual subjects during v D50 all-out runs v D50 Mid-point velocity between v LT and v _ V O 2max, t lim time limit For other de nitions see Table 1 Subjects v D50 (km á h )1 ) (ml á min )1 á kg )1 ) (% incremental test) Maximal blood lactate (mmol á 1 )1 ) D _V O 2 6±3 min (ml á min )1 ) t lim at v D50 (min:s) t lim at (min:s) :59 0: :04 3: :22 0: :48 7: :04 0: :00 4: :49 5: :30 4:30 Mean :20 2:42 SD :45 3:09 Table 3 Individual data in the intermittent run: 30 s at v _ V O 2max alternated with 30 s at 50% of v _ V O 2max until exhaustion For other de nitions see Tables 1 and 2 Subjects (ml á min )1 á kg )1 ) (% incremental test) f cmax (beats á min )1 ) f cmax (% f cmax incremental test) Maximal blood lactate (mmol á l )1 ) Distance in 30 s at v _ V O 2max Number of intervals of severe exercise t lim at (min:s) : : : : : : : :30 Mean :51 SD :38 the di erence was not signi cant [68 (SD 22) vs 75 (SD 21) mmol á l )1, respectively, P = 07] On average, the subjects maintained this interval training procedure for 19 (SD 5) repetitions, which represents 95 min (SD 2) min of severe exercise at v _ V O 2 max On average, from the fth repetition until the end of intermittent training the _V O 2 elicited was not significantly di erent from _V O 2 max (P = 062) Furthermore, the _V O 2 did not vary signi cantly (P = 056) between each 30 s of high and low intensity exercise Likewise, f c did not vary signi cantly during the intermittent training session (P = 051) The _V O 2 max and maximal f c values are not signi cantly di erent from the maximal values found in the incremental test (see Table 1; P = 021 and P = 034 for _V O 2 max and maximal f c, respectively) Maximal blood lactate concentrations for intermittent exercise and v D50 continuous run were signi cantly lower than those measured at the end of the incremental test (P = 003, P = 005, respectively) and were not signi cantly di erent from each other (P = 04) Seven out of the eight runners reached their _V O 2 max and they maintained if for 7 min 51 s (SD 6 min 38 s) during the intermittent run For these seven subjects, time run at _V O 2 max represented 83 (SD 45)% of cumulative time maintained at v _ V O 2 max Total time run at _V O 2 max was related to the number of intervals run at v _ V O 2 max (n) during intermittent training (r = 090, P = 002) as follows:- Total time at _V O 2 max (seconds) = n intervals 648 )7526 Discussion The purpose of this study was to compare the time spent running at _V O 2 max during the interval training commonly used by runners (30-s at v followed by 30-s at 50% v ), with time spent at _V O 2 max during a strenuous continuous run in which _V O 2 slow component could appear This last type of exercise has not yet been as a method of training used at _V O 2 max as trainers and athlete are uninformed about the _V O 2 slow component phenomenon We wanted to ascertain whether this type of exercise would allow subjects to maintain _V O 2 max for a duration comparable with that of interval training, with the aim of devising a new training regime The contribution made by the present study is that we have shown that intermittent exercise (of 30 s at v alternated with 30-s run at 50% of v ) allowed subjects to maintain _V O 2 max for longer than continuous 193 slower running (8 min vs 3 min), and that this occurred without a large accumulation of lactate in the blood In fact, the main di erence between the two types of training was the time spent at _V O 2 max which was 8 min for the intermittent modality (83% of total time run at v _ V O 2 max ) and 2 min 42 s for the continuous exercise session (about 50% of total time maintained at v D50 ) This study demonstrated that although both continuous strenuous runs and interval training (using short repetitions with active pauses) allowed subjects to reach _V O 2 max, this very high metabolic rate was maintained for longer with the intermittent runs Blood lactate concentration end values averaged 74 (SD 18) mmol á l )1 and 80 (SD 12) mmol á l )
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