Exercise training comprising of single 20-s cycle sprints does not provide a sufficient stimulus for improving maximal aerobic capacity in sedentary individuals

P. Songsorn, A. Lambeth-Mansell, J.L. Mair, M. Haggett, B.L. Fitzpatrick, J. Ruffino, A. Holliday, R.S. Metcalfe, N.B.J. Vollaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)



Sprint interval training (SIT) provides a potent stimulus for improving maximal aerobic capacity ([Formula: see text]), which is among the strongest markers for future cardiovascular health and premature mortality. Cycling-based SIT protocols involving six or more 'all-out' 30-s Wingate sprints per training session improve [Formula: see text], but we have recently demonstrated that similar improvements in [Formula: see text] can be achieved with as few as two 20-s sprints. This suggests that the volume of sprint exercise has limited influence on subsequent training adaptations. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine whether a single 20-s cycle sprint per training session can provide a sufficient stimulus for improving [Formula: see text].


Thirty sedentary or recreationally active participants (10 men/20 women; mean ± SD age: 24 ± 6 years, BMI: 22.6 ± 4.0 kg m(-2), [Formula: see text]: 33 ± 7 mL kg(-1) min(-1)) were randomised to a training group or a no-intervention control group. Training involved three exercise sessions per week for 4 weeks, consisting of a single 20-s Wingate sprint (no warm-up or cool-down). [Formula: see text] was determined prior to training and 3 days following the final training session.


Mean [Formula: see text] did not significantly change in the training group (2.15 ± 0.62 vs. 2.22 ± 0.64 L min(-1)) or the control group (2.07 ± 0.69 vs. 2.08 ± 0.68 L min(-1); effect of time: P = 0.17; group × time interaction effect: P = 0.26).


Although we have previously demonstrated that regularly performing two repeated 20-s 'all-out' cycle sprints provides a sufficient training stimulus for a robust increase in [Formula: see text], our present study suggests that this is not the case when training sessions are limited to a single sprint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1517
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • VO2 max
  • High-intensity interval training
  • SIT
  • Wingate sprint
  • Sprint interval

Cite this