(HealthDay News) – For running, women may benefit more from high intensity interval training (HIIT), according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

C. Matthew Laurent, PhD, from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and colleagues assessed data from 16 participants (eight male and eight female) completing a VO2peak test and three treadmill HIIT sessions on separate days. Six four-minute intervals performed at the highest self-selected intensity that individuals felt they could maintain were included in the HIIT sessions. One-, two-, or four-minute recovery between intervals were counterbalanced during each trial. Measurements of intensity included percent of velocity at VO2peak (vVO2peak), percent of VO2peak (%VO2peak), percent of HRmax (%HRmax), and blood lactate concentration ([La]). Records of perceived readiness were taken immediately before and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded at the end of each interval as well as session RPE after each trial.

The researchers found a significant effect of sex on %vVO2peak and %HRmax. Men were found to consistently self-select higher %vVO2peak (84.5% vs. 80.7%); however, women were found to produce higher %HRmax (96.9% vs. 92.1%) and %VO2peak (89.6% vs. 86.1%) with no difference in [La] or perceptual responses.

“These findings support the notion that women may demonstrate improved recovery during high-intensity exercise, as they will self-select intensities resulting in greater cardiovascular strain,” the authors write. “Moreover, results confirm previous findings suggesting a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio is optimal during HIIT for both men and women.”

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