Int J Sports Med 2015; 36(03): 209-214
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1389942
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Higher Insulin-sensitizing Response after Sprint Interval Compared to Continuous Exercise

J. F. Ortega
1   Sport Sciences, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
V. E. Fernández-Elías
2   Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
N. Hamouti
2   Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
J. G. Pallares
3   Physical Education, Murcia, Univeristy of Murcia, Spain
R. Mora-Rodriguez
1   Sport Sciences, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 29 July 2014

Publication Date:
06 November 2014 (online)


This study investigated which exercise mode (continuous or sprint interval) is more effective for improving insulin sensitivity. Ten young, healthy men underwent a non-exercise trial (CON) and 3 exercise trials in a cross-over, randomized design that included 1 sprint interval exercise trial (SIE; 4 all-out 30-s sprints) and 2 continuous exercise trials at 46% VO2peak (CELOW) and 77% VO2peak (CEHIGH). Insulin sensitivity was assessed using intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) 30 min, 24 h and 48 h post-exercise. Energy expenditure was measured during exercise. Glycogen in vastus lateralis was measured once in a resting condition (CON) and immediately post-exercise in all trials. Plasma lipids were measured before each IVGTT. Only after CEHIGH did muscle glycogen concentration fall below CON (P<0.01). All exercise treatments improved insulin sensitivity compared with CON, and this effect persisted for 48-h. However, 30-min post-exercise, insulin sensitivity was higher in SIE than in CELOW and CEHIGH (11.5±4.6, 8.6±5.4, and 8.1±2.9 respectively; P<0.05). Insulin sensitivity did not correlate with energy expenditure, glycogen content, or plasma fatty acids concentration (P>0.05). After a single exercise bout, SIE acutely improves insulin sensitivity above continuous exercise. The higher post-exercise hyperinsulinemia and the inhibition of lipolysis could be behind the marked insulin sensitivity improvement after SIE.

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