Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

The effects of two weeks low-volume self-regulated high-intensity interval training on cardiorespiratory fitness, exercise enjoyment, and intentions to repeat

Jennifer Campbell, Shaun M. Phillips


This study investigated the effect of low-volume self-regulated high-intensity interval training (SR-HIIT) on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), exercise enjoyment, and intentions to repeat. Ten untrained, physically active adults (five males and five females, age: 20.3 ± 0.5 years) undertook a 2-week control period followed by 2-weeks SR-HIIT (6 x 10 min cycle ergometer sessions). Sessions involved alternate bouts at a rating of perceived exertion of 17 (work) and 11 (recovery), with bout durations self-regulated by the participant. Maximal aerobic capacity showed a small increase from post-control (3.14 ± 1.03 L.min-1) to post-training (3.45 ± 1.14 L.min-1; diff 0.31, 95%CI 0.06 L.min-1, d = 0.28, 95%CL 0.11, 0.45). First ventilatory threshold showed a large increase from post-control (65.6 ± 2.1% V̇O2max) to post-training (68.0 ± 2.4% V̇O2max; diff 2.4, 95%CI 1.2%, d = 0.96, 95%CL 0.27, 1.62). Post-exercise enjoyment showed small ( diff 3.5, 95%CI 8.1 AU, d = 0.31) and medium ( diff 6.9, 95%CI 6.7 AU, d = 0.68) increases from SR-HIIT session 1-3 and 3-6, respectively. There were trivial to medium increases in intention to repeat SR-HIIT once per week (d = 0.06 to 0.63) and three times per week (d = 0.28 to 0.60). Low-volume SR-HIIT elicits meaningful improvements in CRF, is enjoyable, and facilitates good intentions to repeat, and may be an additional option for implementing HIIT to improve general population health and fitness.


Sports Health; Intermittent; Perception; Aerobic


Algina, J., & Keselman, H. J. (2003). Approximate confidence intervals for effect sizes. Educ Psychol Meas, 63(4), 537-553.

Allison, M. K., Baglole, J. H., Martin, B. J., Macinnis, M. J., Gurd, B. J., & Gibala, M. J. (2017). Brief Intense Stair Climbing Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness (vol 49, pg 298, 2017). Med Sci Sports Exerc, 49(3), 626-626.

American College of Sports Medicine. (2017). ACSMs Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (10 ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Wolters Kluwer.

Astorino, T. A., Edmunds, R. M., Clark, A., King, L., Gallant, R. A., Namm, S., . . . Wood, K. M. (2017). High-Intensity Interval Training Increases Cardiac Output and V O2max. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 49(2), 265-273.

Bacon, A. P., Carter, R. E., Ogle, E. A., & Joyner, M. J. (2013). VO(2)max Trainability and High Intensity Interval Training in Humans: A Meta-Analysis. Plos One, 8(9).

Batacan, R. B., Duncan, M. J., Dalbo, V. J., Tucker, P. S., & Fenning, A. S. (2017). Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. Br J Sports Med, 51(6).

Bayati, M., Farzad, B., Gharakhanlou, R., & Agha-Alinejad, H. (2011). A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces performance and metabolic adaptations that resemble 'all-out' sprint interval training. J Sports Sci Med, 10(3), 571-576.

Beaver, W. L., Wasserman, K., & Whipp, B. J. (1986). A New Method for Detecting Anaerobic Threshold by Gas-Exchange. J Appl Physiol, 60(6), 2020-2027.

Biddle, S. J. H., & Batterham, A. M. (2015). High-intensity interval exercise training for public health: a big HIT or shall we HIT it on the head? Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 12.

Bradley, C., Niven, A., & Phillips, S. M. (2019). Self-reported tolerance of the intensity of exercise influences affective responses to and intentions to engage with high-intensity interval exercise. J Sports Sci, 37(13), 1472-1480.

Burgomaster, K. A., Heigenhauser, G. J. F., & Gibala, M. J. (2006). Effect of short-term sprint interval training on human skeletal muscle carbohydrate metabolism during exercise and time-trial performance. J Appl Physiol, 100(6), 2041-2047.

Calin-Jageman, R. J., & Cumming, G. (2019). The New Statistics for Better Science: Ask How Much, How Uncertain, and What Else Is Known. Am Stat, 73, 271-280.

Ciolac, E. G., Mantuani, S. S., Neiva, C. M., Verardi, C. E. L., Pessoa, D. M., & Pimenta, L. (2015). Rating of perceived exertion as a tool for prescribing and self regulating interval training: a pilot study. Biol Sport, 32(2), 103-108.

Cohen, J. (1992). A Power Primer. Psychol Bull, 112(1), 155-159.

Ekkekakis, P., Parfitt, G., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2011). The Pleasure and Displeasure People Feel When they Exercise at Different Intensities Decennial Update and Progress towards a Tripartite Rationale for Exercise Intensity Prescription. Sports Med, 41(8), 641-671.

Ekkekakis, P., & Petruzzello, S. J. (1999). Acute aerobic exercise and affect - Current status, problems and prospects regarding dose-response. Sports Med, 28(5), 337-374.

Eskelinen, J. J., Heinonen, I., Loyttyniemi, E., Hakala, J., Heiskanen, M. A., Motiani, K. K., . . . Kalliokoski, K. K. (2016). Left ventricular vascular and metabolic adaptations to high-intensity interval and moderate intensity continuous training: a randomized trial in healthy middle-aged men. J Physiol, 594(23), 7127-7140.

Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., . . . Med, A. C. S. (2011). Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 43(7), 1334-1359.

Gillen, J. B., Percival, M. E., Skelly, L. E., Martin, B. J., Tan, R. B., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Gibala, M. J. (2014). Three Minutes of All-Out Intermittent Exercise per Week Increases Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity and Improves Cardiometabolic Health. Plos One, 9(11).

Herdy, A. H., Ritt, L. E. F., Stein, R., de Araujo, C. G. S., Milani, M., Meneghelo, R. S., . . . Serra, S. M. (2016). Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test: Background, Applicability and Interpretation. Arq Bras Cardiol, 107(5), 467-481.

Hoekstra, S. P., Bishop, N. C., & Leicht, C. A. (2017). Can intervals enhance the inflammatory response and enjoyment in upper-body exercise? Eur J Appl Physiol, 117(6), 1155-1163.

Ivarsson, A., Andersen, M., Johnson, U., & Lindwall, M. (2013). To adjust or not adjust: Nonparametric effect sizes, confidence intervals, and real-world meaning. Psychol Sport Exerc, 14(1), 97-102.

Jung, M. E., Bourne, J. E., & Little, J. P. (2014). Where Does HIT Fit? An Examination of the Affective Response to High-Intensity Intervals in Comparison to Continuous Moderate- and Continuous Vigorous-Intensity Exercise in the Exercise Intensity-Affect Continuum. Plos One, 9(12).

Kellogg, E., Cantacessi, C., McNamer, O., Holmes, H., von Bargen, R., Ramirez, R., . . . Astorino, T. A. (2019). Comparison of Psychological and Physiological Responses to Imposed vs. Self-selected High-Intensity Interval Training. J Str Cond Res, 33(11), 2945-2952.

Kendzierski, D., & Decarlo, K. J. (1991). Physical-Activity Enjoyment Scale - 2 Validation Studies. J Sport Exerc Psychol, 13(1), 50-64.

Kunutsor, S. K., Kurl, S., Khan, H., Zaccardi, F., Rauramaa, R., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2017). Oxygen uptake at aerobic threshold is inversely associated with fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. Ann Med, 49(8), 698-709.

Larsen, R. G., Befroy, D. E., & Kent-Braun, J. A. (2013). High-intensity interval training increases in vivo oxidative capacity with no effect on P-i -> ATP rate in resting human muscle. Am J Physiol, 304(5), R333-R342.

McEwan, G., Arthur, R., Phillips, S. M., Gibson, N. V., & Easton, C. (2018). Interval running with self-selected recovery: Physiology, performance, and perception. Eur J Sport Sci, 18(8), 1058-1067.

McPhee, J. S., Williams, A. G., Degens, H., & Jones, D. A. (2010). Inter-individual variability in adaptation of the leg muscles following a standardised endurance training programme in young women. Eur J Appl Physiol, 109(6), 1111-1118.

Myers, J., McAuley, P., Lavie, C. J., Despres, J. P., Arena, R., & Kokkinos, P. (2015). Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness as Major Markers of Cardiovascular Risk: Their Independent and Interwoven Importance to Health Status. Prog Cardio Dis, 57(4), 306-314.

Niven, A., Thow, J., Holroyd, J., Turner, A. P., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Comparison of affective responses during and after low volume high-intensity interval exercise, continuous moderate- and continuous high-intensity exercise in active, untrained, healthy males. J Sports Sci, 36(17), 1993-2001.

Nybo, L., Sundstrup, E., Jakobsen, M. D., Mohr, M., Hornstrup, T., Simonsen, L., . . . Krustrup, P. (2010). High-Intensity Training versus Traditional Exercise Interventions for Promoting Health. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42(10), 1951-1958.

Parfitt, G., Rose, E. A., & Burgess, W. M. (2006). The psychological and physiological responses of sedentary individuals to prescribed and preferred intensity exercise. Br J Health Psychol, 11, 39-53.

Phillips, S. M., Thompson, R., & Oliver, J. L. (2014). Overestimation of Required Recovery Time during Repeated Sprint Exercise with Self-Regulated Recovery. J Strength Cond Res, 28(12), 3385-3392.

Rhodes, R. E., & Kates, A. (2015). Can the Affective Response to Exercise Predict Future Motives and Physical Activity Behavior? A Systematic Review of Published Evidence. Ann Behav Med, 49(5), 715-731.

Ruffino, J. S., Songsorn, P., Haggett, M., Edmonds, D., Robinson, A. M., Thompson, D., & Vollaard, N. B. J. (2017). A comparison of the health benefits of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) and moderate-intensity walking in type 2 diabetes patients. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 42(2), 202-208.

Stork, M. J., Banfield, L. E., Gibala, M. J., & Ginis, K. A. M. (2017). A scoping review of the psychological responses to interval exercise: is interval exercise a viable alternative to traditional exercise? Health Psychol Rev, 11(4), 324-344.

Vazou-Ekkekakis, S., & Ekkekakis, P. (2009). Affective consequences of imposing the intensity of physical activity: does the loss of perceived autonomy matter? Hell J Psychol, 6, 125-144.

Wasserstein, R. L., & Lazar, N. A. (2016). The ASA's Statement on p-Values: Context, Process, and Purpose. Am Stat, 70(2), 129-131.

Wasserstein, R. L., Schirm, A. L., & Lazar, N. A. (2019) Moving to a World Beyond “p < 0.05”, The American Statistician, 73:sup1, 1-19.


Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.