Individual Variation in VO2peak Response Following Sprint Interval Training: The Role of Peripheral Adaptation
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There is a large degree of heterogeneity in response to regular physical activity at the individual level, with some exhibiting no or very small improvements in VO2peak following highly controlled exercise training. The purpose of this thesis was to examine individual variation in VO2peak response to sprint interval training (SIT) in relation to individual responses to multiple measures of peripheral physiological adaptation. Specifically, VO2peak, capillary density, fibre-specific SDH content, and type I fibre % were measured in 23 young, healthy, recreationally active males before and after 4 weeks SIT (Tabata protocol 4 x per week). The key findings of this experiment included that, when separated into tertiles of VO2peak response, the high (HI) and low (LO) groups differed significantly in VO2peak change after training. Secondly, there was no difference between HI and LO groups for response in any of capillary density, fibre-specific SDH content, or fibre type %, with no correlation found between individual VO2peak response and changes in any measured peripheral variable. Together, these results confirm that individuals respond heterogeneously to SIT and suggest that this heterogeneity does not result from differences in individual changes in capillary density, fibre-specific SDH content or type I fibre %. It is speculated that some other combination of peripheral physiological adaptation must explain variability in VO2peak response to 4 weeks of SIT.