Effects of high-intensity training on performance and physiology of endurance athletes

Citation metadata

Authors: Carl D. Paton and Will G. Hopkins
Date: Annual 2004
From: Sportscience(Vol. 8)
Publisher: Internet Society for Sport Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,741 words

Main content

Article Preview :

Most endurance athletes use high-intensity training to prepare for competitions. In this review we consider the effects of high-intensity interval and resistance training on endurance performance and related physiological measures of competitive endurance athletes. METHODS. There were 22 relevant training studies. We classified training as intervals (supramaximal, maximal, submaximal) and resistance (including explosive, plyometrics, and weights). We converted all effects on performance into percent changes in mean power and included effects on physiological measures that impact endurance performance. FINDINGS. All but one study was performed in noncompetitive phases of the athletes' programs, when there was otherwise little or no high-intensity training. Endurance performance of the shortest durations was enhanced most by supramaximal intervals (~4%) and explosive sport-specific resistance training (4-8%). Endurance performance of the longest durations was enhanced most by intervals of maximal and supramaximal intensities (~6%), but resistance training had smaller effects (~2%). Interval training achieved its effects through improvements of maximum oxygen consumption, anaerobic threshold, and economy, whereas resistance training had benefits mainly on economy. Effects of some forms of high-intensity training on performance or physiology were unclear. CONCLUSIONS. Addition of explosive resistance and high-intensity interval training to a generally low-intensity training program will produce substantial gains in performance. More research is needed to clarify the effects of the various forms of high-intensity training on endurance performance, to determine whether prescribing specific forms of resistance training can improve specific deficits of an endurance athlete's physiology, and to determine the effects of combining the various forms in periodized programs.

KEYWORDS: aerobic, anaerobic threshold, economy, plyometrics, resistance, strength.

Reprint pdf * Reprint doc * Commentaries by Foster and Saunders and Pyne.


Introduction Methods Selection of Studies Analysis of Training Analysis of Performance Analysis of Physiological Effects Findings Endurance Performance Maximum Incremental Power Maximum Oxygen Consumption Anaerobic Threshold Economy Body Mass Conclusions and Training Implications Further Research References Appendices


Endurance in relation to athletic performance has been defined in various ways. In this article we have reviewed effects of high-intensity training not only on athletic endurance performance but also on underlying changes in the aerobic energy system. Endurance for our purposes therefore refers to sustained high-intensity events powered mainly by aerobic metabolism. Such events last ~30 s or more (Greenhaff and Timmons, 1998).

Training for endurance athletes generally emphasizes participation in long-duration low-or moderate-intensity exercise during the base or preparation phase of the season, with the inclusion of shorter-duration high-intensity efforts as the competitive phase approaches. The effects of low- to moderate-intensity endurance training on aerobic fitness are well documented (see Jones and Carter, 2000 for review), but reviews of high-intensity training on endurance performance have focused only on describing the effects of resistance training (Tanaka and Swensen, 1998), the effects of resistance training with runners (Jung, 2003), and the different types of interval training used by athletes (Billat, 2001a) and studied by researchers (Billat, 2001b). Furthermore, previous reviews have included the effects of high-intensity training on untrained or recreationally active subjects, so findings may not be applicable to competitive...

Source Citation

Source Citation
Paton, Carl D., and Will G. Hopkins. "Effects of high-intensity training on performance and physiology of endurance athletes." Sportscience, vol. 8, annual 2004, pp. 25+. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A165819925