Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Physiological profile of high intensity functional training athletes

Paolo Emilio Adami, Jacopo Emanuele Rocchi, Negassi Melke, Andrea Macaluso


Introduction: High intensity functional trainings (HIFT) are among the most common and popular training modalities. The aim of the present study was to examine the physiological characteristics of a group of HIFT competitive athletes both in a laboratory and field setting. Methods: Twenty HIFT athletes, 10 men (29 ± 5.3 years) and 10 women (30 ± 3.2 years), were evaluated in the laboratory for anthropometric characteristics, VO2peak, lactate threshold, maximal anaerobic power, maximal voluntary isometric and isokinetic strength, and muscle power during a countermovement jump. Athletes were also monitored in the field by measuring VO2 and lactate during a training session. Results: HIFT competitive athletes reached high levels in VO2peak (52.9 ± 5.67 ml·kg-1·min-1 in men; 52.4 ± 6.17 ml·kg-1·min-1 in women), VO2 at lactate threshold (79.7% of VO2peak in men; 74.5% of VO2peak in women), maximal anaerobic power (7.6 ± 1.32 W·kg-1 in men; 5.0 ± 1.13 W·kg-1 in women; p < .05), maximal voluntary knee extension isometric strength (11.7 ± 1.43 N·kg-1 in men; 9.5 ± 2.25 N·kg-1 in women; p < .05) and isokinetic strength (281.4 ± 31.56 N·kg-1 in men; 243.1 ± 44.13 N·kg-1 in women; p < .05), and muscle power during a countermovement jump (54 ± 5.9 W·kg-1 in men; 40 ± 4.8 W·kg-1 in women; p < .05). VO2peak during the on-field training session (50.6 ± 3.82 ml·kg-1·min-1 in men; 51.9 ± 5.76 ml·kg-1·min-1 in women) and lactate production (10.4 ± 0.69 mmol·l-1 in men; 9.7 ± 0.96 mmol·l-1 in women) revealed the high intensity nature of HIFT. Conclusions: Overall, HIFT athletes show exceptional performances in physiological components that are key to many different sports. The lack of specialization in exclusively one domain of physical fitness reveals the comprehensive nature of this training methodology.


Physical fitness; CrossFit; General preparedness programs; Sports performance; Functional exercise


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