J. Ulbright1, K. Rambo2, S. Ruckman3, W. M. Silvers1

1Whitworth University, Spokane, WA; 2Creighton University, Omaha, NE; 3Baylor University, Waco, TX

Much evidence exists to support the efficacy of short-term high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols for improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness. Though multiple exercise modes have been investigated with HIIT protocols, many popular exercises, such as the “burpee” warrant research. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of 2 wks of HIIT, with 2 variations of burpees, on VO2max. METHODS: 18 healthy male and female recreationally active individuals, aged 18-45 yrs (nm = 14, nf = 4; height: 177.01 ± 8.27 cm; weight: 74.43 ± 8.57 kg, age: 26.2 ± 8.69 yrs) participated in this study. Participants were randomly assigned to either: a 6-count burpee (6CB) or 3-count burpee (3CB) group. The 6CB begins in the standing position. Participants lower into a squat and place hands on the ground (1), kick their feet back (2), lower into a push-up (3), complete the push-up (4) return to a squat (5), jump up with arms overhead (6). The 3CB consists of the same steps as 6CB, but the push-up (2-3) and jump (6) are omitted. Participants completed a pre-intervention VO2max test. Participants attended 6 sessions over 2 wks with at least 1 day of rest between sessions. Sessions consisted of a standardized warm-up, HIIT protocol (4-7 sets of burpees), and cool down. During the HIIT protocol, participants performed maximum possible repetitions of assigned burpees in each 30 s set, followed by 1 min of rest. Within 3 days of finishing the final session, participants completed a post-intervention VO2max test. Pre- and post-intervention VO2max data was compared within and between groups using a repeated measures ANOVA (p ≤ 0.05). RESULTS: There was no statistical difference in VO2max within groups (pre-test: 48.51 ± 2.60 ml/kg/min, post-test: 49.18 ± 2.44 ml/kg/min; p = 0.925) or between groups (3CB: 49.08 ± 3.53 ml/kg/min, 6CB: 48.61 ± 3.53 ml/kg/min; p = 0.381). CONCLUSION: 2 wks of HIIT using either burpee variation did not significantly improve VO2max. The burpee protocols may not have induced enough aerobic stress, the research timeframe was too short, and/or participant baseline aerobic fitness was high enough to mitigate further VO2max improvement. Further research should explore these aspects. Also, VO2max did not decline during the study, indicating the use of this protocol may assist in maintenance of aerobic fitness.

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