While the efficacy of sprint interval training (SIT) to provide positive health effects in inactive populations is established, feasibility is associated with enjoyment and safety, which are dependent on the acute physiological and perceptual responses. The recovery format likely influences physiological and perceptual responses that occur during and immediately after SIT. It was hypothesized that during SIT interspersed with active recovery periods, enjoyment and blood pressure (BP) values would be higher compared with passive recovery periods, in inactive participants.
Twelve males (mean ± SD; age 23 ± 3 y) completed 3 exercise sessions on a cycle ergometer in a randomized order on separate days: (a) SIT with passive recovery periods between 4 bouts (SITPASS), (b) SIT with active recovery periods between 4 bouts (SITACT), and (c) SITACT with the 4 SIT bouts replaced with passive periods. BP was measured immediately after each bout and every 2 min during a 6 min recovery. Physical activity enjoyment was measured during postexercise recovery.
There were no significant differences in physical activity enjoyment or systolic BP between SITPASS and SITACT. Diastolic BP was lower during recovery in SITACT (P = 0.025) and SITPASS (P = 0.027), compared with resting BP. Furthermore, diastolic BP was lower after 6 min of recovery following SITPASS, compared with SITACT (P = 0.01).
Exercise enjoyment and acute systolic BP responses were independent of SIT recovery format in inactive men. Reductions in diastolic BP were greater and more prolonged after SIT protocols that included passive recovery periods.