As i'm still looking for a few participants to take part in my study, i thought i'd write a small blog about what exactly Sprint interval training (SIT) is and what's been shown from the research so far. SIT is characterised by recurring bouts of brief, repeated intervals of high intensity exercise and minimal recovery time. It has become an important tool to sport coaches across many sports as it has been shown to be a potent stimulus for inducing desirable sport specific metabolic adaptations in human skeletal muscles. Adaptations such as improved carbohydrate (CHO) metabolism and increase in resting glycogen content in conjunction with an increase in the maximal activities of vital enzymes involved in glycolytic and oxidative energy there are numerous benefits of implanting this type of training in sports that require bouts of intense energy.
Moderate-intensity exercise is usually characterised by training for prolonged periods at around 65% of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), usually performed repeatedly for several weeks with a gradual increase in intensity. Both these methods of training have been utilised by sports and fitness coaches to increase the skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and improve endurance capacity of athletes. There have, however, been few studies that have directly compared the sport specific efficiency of both these types of training. Numerous studies having shown that repeated sessions of short duration sprint-type interval training (SIT) elicits the same skeletal muscle energy metabolism adaptions shown in traditional endurance training (ET) over a shorter period.
It's been demonstrated that having participants complete six sessions of SIT over a 2-week period resulted in improved time trial results with participants showing an increased muscle oxidative potential. Additionally, Low-volume HIT has also been shown to promote improvements metabolic control and vascular endothelial function in athletes over that of moderate intensity endurance training. These adaptions result in increases in exercise performance as well as the maximal activity and protein content of the mitochondrial enzyme cytochrome c oxidase (COX). All these adaptations are hugely beneficial in combat sports where energy utilisation is needed for rapid bouts and quick recovery
The physiological demands of combat sports can be characterised by intermittent bouts of physical exercise with varying degrees of intensity. Boxing, as example, has many bouts of explosively powerful attacks which are then often quickly followed by counter-attacks. The process of quick attacks followed by a defensive recovery periods are repeated through the event with attacks predominantly utilising anaerobic metabolism whilst aerobic metabolism drives the recovery of energy during defensive periods or allocated rest time. The intermittent nature of combat sports necessitates that both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems are maximised for efficiency.
Next blog will look at energy demands for combat sports.
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