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Table 6 HIIT studies in other clinical populations

From: High-Intensity Interval Training in Older Adults: a Scoping Review

Article HIIT/SIT protocol Outcomes Feasibility/tolerability
Banerjee et al. (2018) [76] Frequency: 2×/week for 3–6 weeks
Intervals: 6 intervals at 70–85% HRmax for 5 min
Rest: recovery 2.5-min active rest
Modality: Cycle ergometer
Primary—Feasibility and tolerability. Secondary—Improvements in peak values of oxygen pulse, minute ventilation, and power outage in exercise group vs controls. Dropouts: Of 112 eligible patients, recruitment = 53.5% (60), attrition = 8.3%. 5 of the 60 recruited patients dropped out of the study (2 unfit for surgery following randomization and 3 opted for radiotherapy after follow-up endurance test).
Compliance: Median number of exercise sessions attended = 8 (range 1–10) in 3–6 weeks. 4 did not meet max rating of perceived exertion score ≤ 16.
AEs: None reported.
Devin et al. (2019) [77] Frequency: 3×/week for 4 weeks
Intervals: 4 intervals at 85–95% HRmax for 4 min
Rest: 3-min recovery period
Modality: Cycle ergometer
Primary: Cancer cell number after incubation with patient serum (cells in serum immediately post HIIT sig decreased; no change from serum at 120 min post-exercise) Secondary: cell apoptosis (no difference/change), systemic marker analyses (immediately post HIIT—increase TNF-a, IL-6/8, insulin; all returned to baseline at 120 min except insulin). Not given
Fiorelli et al. (2019) [78] Frequency: Single session
Intervals: 7 intervals between Borg scale 13–17 for 1 min
Rest: recovery at 9–11 on Borg scale for 2 min
Modality: Cycle ergometer
Both MCT and HIIT improved immediate auditory memory but HIIT also improved attention and sustained attention. Working memory was not impacted by either intervention. Authors state that both exercise interventions were well-tolerated.
Hoffmann et al. (2016) [79] Frequency: 3×/week for 16 weeks
Intervals: 3 intervals at 70–80% HRmax for 10 min
Rest: recovery of 2–5-min rest
Modality: Various
Per intention-to-treat analysis, HIIT did not show any change from baseline in cognitive scores, quality of life, or activities of daily living. The intervention group did show a greater change towards less severe neuropsychiatric symptoms. In subjects who adhered to the intervention, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test score significantly improved compared to control. Compliance: 76% of the HIIT group attended more than 80% of HIIT sessions, 78% of HIIT participants exercised at intensity over 70% of HRmax. 62% of the HIIT group did both above criteria.
AEs: In the HIIT group, 35 AEs and 7 serious AEs were reported. Of those suspected to be related to the intervention, 6 were MSK problems, 6 were dizziness or faintness, and 1 possibly related was atrial fibrillation.
Keogh et al. (2018) [80] Frequency: 4×/week for 8 weeks
Intervals: 5 intervals at 100rpm at a level at which it is “quite difficult to complete sentences” for 45s
Rest: recovery at 70 rpm for 90 s
Modality: Home cycle ergometer
Primary—Feasibility and safety. Secondary—Both HIIT and MCT similarly and significantly improved their health-related quality of life (measured by WOMAC scores) but HIIT also significantly improved physical performance as measured by the Timed Up and Go test (which was also significantly greater than the MCT group) and the 30 s Sit-to-Stand test. There was no change in body composition, gait speed, or Lequense index in either group. Dropouts: Of 27 initially enrolled, 17 participants completed the study (dropout rate of 37%).
Compliance: Adherence high (MCT = 88%, HIIT = 94%).
AEs: 3 individuals reported AEs (1 MCT, 2 HIIT). Total of 28 AEs, 24 of these by 1 HIIT participant.
Mitropoulos et al. (2018) [81] Frequency: 2×/week for 12 weeks
Intervals: 100% PPO for 30 s
Rest: 30-s passive recovery
Time: 30 min
Modality: Cycle ergometer or arm crank
Primary: Peak oxygen uptake increased similarly and significantly in both exercise groups compared to baseline. The arm-crank group had improved cutaneous vascular conductance compared to baseline after intervention. Both exercise groups had increased life satisfaction scores and decreased discomfort and pain of Raynaud’s phenomenon post-intervention compared to control. Dropouts: 1 in each exercise group.
Compliance: Compliance in the cycling group was 88% compared to 92% in the arm-crank group.
AEs: No exercise-related complications were reported.
Acceptance of protocol: Enjoyment scores for both exercise groups were high, averaging “good.”
Northey et al. (2019) [82] Frequency: 3×/week for 12 weeks
Intervals: 4–7 intervals over 90% HRmax by 4th interval for 30 s
Rest: 2 min active recovery
Time: 20–30 min
Modality: Cycle ergometer
HIIT had moderate to large positive effects compared to MCT and control on cognitive performance including episodic memory, working memory, executive function, cerebral blood flow, and cerebrovascular reactivity, but these were not statistically significant. HIIT also significantly increased VO2peak by 19.3% while MCT had non-significant increase of 5.6% and control had a decrease of 2.6%. Dropouts: None
Compliance: Adherence similar between HIIT and MCT (78.7 % attendance in HIIT)
AEs: None reported
Rizk et al. (2015) [83] Acute bout followed by 12-week training intervention
Frequency: 3×/week for 12 weeks
Interval: 30-s intervals at 100% Wpeak
Rest: 30-s recovery bouts
Time: Duration to equal total metabolic equivalents of HCT for 25 min at 80% Wpeak
Modality: Cycle ergometer
Responses to acute bout: All but one subject were able to achieve the target exercise duration. Overall, they were able to maintain their target HR range. The mean HR attained as percentage of target was 99.9% (HCT), 99.8% (MCT), and 89.6% (HIIT). Perceived leg fatigue was significantly less in MCT than in the other groups. Mean HR attained were similar between all groups.
Response to 12-week intervention: See feasibility and tolerability.
Compliance: Mean attendance not significantly different between groups, means were 70.1–81.9% Mean 12-week adherence to target intensity was significantly lower in HIIT (49%) compared to other groups HCT (85.6%) and MCT (85.4%). In acute session, mean HR attained as a percentage of target was 99.9% for HCT, 99.8% for MCT, and 89.6% for HIIT.
Rodriguez et al. (2016) [84] Frequency: 3×/week for 8 weeks
Interval: 8 intervals at 70–80% Wpeak for 2 min
Rest: recovery at 40–50% Wpeak for 3 min
Modality: Cycle ergometer
Cardiac autonomic function (measured by heart rate recovery) was improved in both MCT and HIIT. After the interventions, there was a significant increase in VO2peak by 17%, and Wpeak by 18% in both groups. Both the chronotropic response and heart rate recovery improved by 45% and 26% respectively. The change in resting HR was only significantly different in the MCT group. Not given
Uc et al. (2014) [85] Frequency: 3×/week for 6 months
Intervals: 3-min intervals at 80–90% HRmax
Rest: 60–70% HRmax for 3 min
Time: 15 to 45 min (progressive)
Modality: Walking
Aerobic fitness and motor function were significantly and similarly improved in both groups among those who completed the intervention, per VO2max (mL/min/kg ± SD = 1.65 ± 2.90) and 7-min walk time (s ± SD = − 0.66 ± 1.06). Measures of executive function, fatigue, depression, and quality of life were also improved across all completers with no difference between interventions. MCT in individual settings demonstrated similar improvements with better retention, adherence, and safety compared to HIIT. Dropouts: 3 participants in the HIIT group dropped out due to exercise-related knee pain (reversible with rest and conservative measures). None in the continuous group.
Compliance: 81% completed study with 83.3% avg. attendance, exercising at 46.8% HRR. % of required sessions completed: 81.4% of MCT, 73.0% of HIIT
AEs: No serious adverse events were reported
  1. HIIT high-intensity interval training; HCT high-intensity continuous training; MCT moderate-intensity continuous training; RPE rating of perceived exertion; HR heart rate; PPO peak power output; W work; VO2 volume of oxygen consumption; HRR heart rate reserve