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Table 2 Sex-based comparisons of outcomes related to cardiorespiratory fitness, insulin sensitivity, glycemic control, and mitochondrial content following low-volume interval training

From: Physiological Responses to Low-Volume Interval Training in Women

References Sample size (M/W) Population Intervention Outcome
Descriptives Age (yr) BMI (kg/m2) \({\dot{\textbf{V}}\textbf{O}}_{\bf{2}}\)peak (ml/kg/min) Menstrual cycle phase; HC use Interval training protocol Duration (wk); frequency (sessions/wk); exercise mode Sex-specific results
Astorino et al. [68] 11/9 Rec active M: ~ 25
W: ~ 25
~ 25
~ 22
~ 46
~ 41
NR; NR 4–6 × 30 s 'all out' sprints, 5 min recovery 2–3 wks;
2–3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
Bagley et al. [10] 24/17 Healthy M: ~ 38
W: ~ 41
~ 26
~ 22
~ 43
~ 34
NR; NR 4 × 20 s 'all out' sprints, 2 min recovery 12 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in W > M (p = 0.009)
↔ FPG or FPI in M and W
↔ HOMA-IR in M and W
Bonafiglia et al. [72] 9/12 Healthy,
rec active
M: ~ 20
W: ~ 20
~ 25
~ 23
~ 45
~ 39
NR; NR 8 × 20 s at ~ 170% \({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak, 10 s rest 3 wks;
4 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
Bostad et al. [75] 6/9 Healthy,
untrained
M/W: ~ 21 ~ 24 ~ 37 Uncontrolled;
4 participants using OC
3 × 20 s ‘all out’ sprints, 2 min recovery 12 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W (M > W, p < 0.01)
Esbjörnsson Liljedahl et al. [163] 6/10 Healthy,
rec active
M: ~ 26
W: ~ 25
~ 23
~ 22
NR
NR
NR; NR 3 × 30 s 'all out' sprints, 20 min rest 4 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
↔ CS maximal activity in M and W
Gillen et al. [53] 7/7 Obese,
inactive
M: ~ 29
W: ~ 30
~ 31
~ 29
~ 31
~ 28
Uncontrolled; NR 3 × 20 s 'all out' sprints, 2 min recovery 6 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
↓ 24 h blood glucose mean and AUC in M and ↔ in W (p < 0.05)
↔ FPG in M and W
↓ FPI in M and W
↓ HOMA-IR in M and W
↑ CS maximal activity in M and W
↑ COXIV protein content in M and W
Metcalfe et al. [69] 7/8 Healthy,
inactive
M: ~ 26
W: ~ 24
~ 24
~ 23
~ 36
~ 33
Trials separated by ~ 8 wks; NR 2 × 20 s 'all out' sprints, ~ 3 min recovery 6 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
↑ OGTT insulin sensitivity in M and ↔ in W
Metcalfe et al. [71] 17/18 Healthy,
inactive
M: ~ 33
W: ~ 36
~ 25
~ 24
~ 39
~ 32
Trials separated by ~ 8 wks; NR 2 × 20 s 'all out' sprints, ~ 3 min recovery 6 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
↔ OGTT glucose or insulin AUC in M and W
Phillips et al. [76] 64/72 Impaired glucose tolerance and/or BMI > 27,
inactive
M/W: ~ 36 ~ 32 ~ 27 NR; NR 5 × 1 min at 125% \({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak, 1 min recovery 6 wks;
3 sessions/wk;
cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W [M > W for absolute (L/min), p < 0.001; no difference in relative (%), p > 0.05]
↓ HOMA-IR in M and W
Scalzo et al. [70] 11/10 Healthy,
rec active
M: ~ 22
W: ~ 23
~ 22
~ 23
~ 43
~ 40
Uncontrolled; 1 participant using OC 4–8 × 30 s,
4 min recovery
3 wks;
3 sessions/wk; cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
> MPS in mitochondrial fraction in M versus W (trend p = 0.056)
 > MPS in cluster of mitochondrial proteins in M versus W (p < 0.001)
↑ CS protein content in M and W
↔ COXIV protein content in M and W
Søgaard et al. [73] &
Chrøis et al. [138]
11/11 Healthy, inactive M: ~ 63
W: ~ 63
~ 31
~ 31
~ 27
~ 23
NR; NR 5 × 1 min at ~ 125% PPO, 1.5 min recovery 6 wks;
3 sessions/wk; cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and W
↑ Clamp insulin sensitivity in M and W (M > W trend p = 0.068)
↔ OGTT glucose or insulin AUC in M and W
↔ FPG or FPI in M and W
↓ HbA1c in M and ↔ in W (p < 0.001)
↑ CS maximal activity in M and W
↑ ETC protein content in M and W
↑ Mitochondrial respiratory capacity in M and ↔ in W
(p < 0.001)
Weber et al. [74] 7/7 Healthy,
untrained
M: ~ 24
W: ~ 23
~ 26
~ 23
~ 44
~ 40
Tested in follicular phase; NR 3 × 2 min at ~ 100–120% of \({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak, 6 min recovery 8 wks;
3 sessions/wk; cycling
\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak in M and ↔ in W
(p < 0.05)
  1. Statistical significance for the sex by time interaction or independent t-test is presented for outcomes demonstrating a sex-based difference. Body mass index (BMI) was not reported in some studies [68, 69, 72, 74, 75, 163] and was estimated using the mean height and weight values reported. Abbreviations: > greater; increase; decrease; ↔ no change, AUC area under the curve; CGM continuous glucose monitor; COXIV cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV; CS citrate synthase; ETC electron transport chain; FPG fasting plasma glucose; FPI fasting plasma insulin; HbA1c glycated hemoglobin; HC hormonal contraceptive; HOMA-IR homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance; M men; MPS muscle protein synthesis; NR not reported; OC oral contraceptive; OGTT oral glucose tolerance test; Rec active recreationally active; PPO peak power output; \({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)peak peak oxygen uptake; W women