HIIT produces increases in muscle power and free testosterone in male masters athletes

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    Endocr Connect. 2017 Aug 9;6(7):430-436. doi: 10.1530/EC-17-0159. Print 2017 Oct.

    HIIT produces increases in muscle power and free testosterone in male masters athletes

    Herbert P1, Hayes LD2, Sculthorpe NF3, Grace FM4.


    High-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves peak power output (PPO) in sedentary aging men but has not been examined in masters endurance athletes. Therefore, we investigated whether a six-week program of low-volume HIIT would (i) improve PPO in masters athletes and (ii) whether any change in PPO would be associated with steroid hormone perturbations. Seventeen male masters athletes (60 ± 5 years) completed the intervention, which comprised nine HIIT sessions over six weeks. HIIT sessions involved six 30-s sprints at 40% PPO, interspersed with 3 min active recovery. Absolute PPO (799 ± 205 W and 865 ± 211 W) and relative PPO (10.2 ± 2.0 W/kg and 11.0 ± 2.2 W/kg) increased from pre- to post-HIIT respectively (P < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.32−0.38). No significant change was observed for total testosterone (15.2 ± 4.2 nmol/L to 16.4 ± 3.3 nmol/L (P = 0.061, Cohen’s d = 0.32)), while a small increase in free testosterone occurred following HIIT (7.0 ± 1.2 ng/dL to 7.5 ± 1.1 ng/dL pre- to post-HIIT (P = 0.050, Cohen’s d = 0.40)).Six weeks’ HIIT improves PPO in masters athletes and increases free testosterone. Taken together, these data indicate there is a place for carefully timed HIIT epochs in regimes of masters athletes.

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    Dave B.
    Dave B.

    This is great Nelson, thanks for posting it. I’ve added HIIT to my workouts and I’m looking for the ideal interval programming. This research goes with six 30-second intervals with 3 minutes in between, with a 40% PPO intensity. However I’ve also seen or read about 20 seconds/1 minute rest and 45 seconds/1 minute permutations, and some with intervals described as 80% intensity or higher, even. Personally I like the 20-30 minute range, and I try to get in 4 or 5 intervals. Now that HIIT is such a hot topic in exercise science I’m looking forward to a lot… Read more »