Washington: When it comes to running, women may be able to get more out of high intensity interval training (HIIT) than their male counterparts, according to a study.
`Sex-specific Responses to Interval Training` was conducted by Drs. Matt Laurent and Matt Kutz, Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University; Lauren Vervaecke, Division of Applied Physiology, University of South Carolina; and Dr. Matt Green, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of North Alabama.
Earlier interval training studies primarily focused on highly trained males, but researchers say that overlooks the variety of other populations that routinely use interval training.
Researchers put eight men and eight women between the ages of 19 and 30 through self-paced, high intensity interval training using different recovery periods. All of them reported at least a moderate fitness level and participation in at least one session of interval training a week.
Participants hit the treadmill for six, four-minute intervals performed at the highest intensity they felt they could maintain. Recovery between intervals consisted of one minute, two minutes or four minutes.
Throughout the intervals, their maximum oxygen consumption and heart rates were measured. Results revealed a significant effect of gender on both percentages.
Across the trials, men self-selected a faster relative pace, but the women worked at a higher percentage of their maximum heart rate than the men and a higher percentage of their maximum oxygen consumption.
Laurent said that specifically, in our case, men and women tend to work at the same level of perceived exertion and feel similarly recovered between each interval, however, as they perform the interval runs women tended to work `harder` from a relative cardiovascular (percent HRmax and per cent VO2max) standpoint than men.
Results also confirmed previous findings suggesting that a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio is optimal during HIIT for both men and women.
The study has been published in an upcoming Journal of Strength and Conditioning.