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PLOS ONE  2014 

Effects of 12 Weeks High-Intensity & Reduced-Volume Training in Elite Athletes

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095025

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It was investigated if high-intensity interval training (HIT) at the expense of total training volume improves performance, maximal oxygen uptake and swimming economy. 41 elite swimmers were randomly allocated to a control (CON) or HIT group. For 12 weeks both groups trained ~12 h per week. HIT comprised ~5 h vs. 1 h and total distance was ~17 km vs. 35 km per week for HIT and CON, respectively. HIT was performed as 6-10×10-30 s maximal effort interspersed by 2–4 minutes of rest. Performance of 100 m all-out freestyle and 200 m freestyle was similar before and after the intervention in both HIT (60.4±4.0 vs. 60.3±4.0 s; n = 13 and 133.2±6.4 vs. 132.6±7.7 s; n = 14) and CON (60.2±3.7 vs. 60.6±3.8 s; n = 15 and 133.5±7.0 vs. 133.3±7.6 s; n = 15). Maximal oxygen uptake during swimming was similar before and after the intervention in both the HIT (4.0±0.9 vs. 3.8±1.0 l O2×min?1; n = 14) and CON (3.8±0.7 vs. 3.8±0.7 l O2×min?1; n = 11) group. Oxygen uptake determined at fixed submaximal speed was not significantly affected in either group by the intervention. Body fat % tended to increase (P = 0.09) in the HIT group (15.4±1.6% vs. 16.3±1.6%; P = 0.09; n = 16) and increased (P<0.05) in the CON group (13.9±1.5% vs. 14.9±1.5%; n = 17). A distance reduction of 50% and a more than doubled HIT amount for 12 weeks did neither improve nor compromise performance or physiological capacity in elite swimmers.


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