Individual cardiovascular responsiveness to work-matched exercise within the moderate- and severe-intensity domains


Purpose: We investigated the cardiovascular individual response to 6 weeks (3×/week) of work-matched within the severe-intensity domain (high-intensity interval training, HIIT) or moderate-intensity domain (moderate-intensity continuous training, MICT). In addition, we analyzed the cardiovascular factors at baseline underlying the response variability. Methods: 42 healthy sedentary participants were randomly assigned to HIIT or MICT. We applied the region of practical equivalence-method for identifying the levels of responders to the maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) response. For investigating the influence of cardiovascular markers, we trained a Bayesian machine learning model on cardiovascular markers. Results: Despite that HIIT and MICT induced significant increases in V̇O2max, HIIT had greater improvements than MICT (p < 0.001). Greater variability was observed in MICT, with approximately 50% classified as “non-responder” and “undecided”. 20 “responders”, one “undecided” and no “non-responders” were observed in HIIT. The variability in the ∆V̇O2max was associated with initial cardiorespiratory fitness, arterial stiffness, and left-ventricular (LV) mass and LV end-diastolic diameter in HIIT; whereas, microvascular responsiveness and right-ventricular (RV) excursion velocity showed a significant association in MICT. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the critical influence of exercise-intensity domains and biological variability on the individual V̇O2max response. The incidence of “non-responders” in MICT was one third of the group; whereas, no “non-responders” were observed in HIIT. The incidence of “responders” was 11 out of 21 participants in MICT, and 20 out of 21 participants in HIIT. The response in HIIT showed associations with baseline fitness, arterial stiffness, and LV-morphology; whereas, it was associated with RV systolic function in MICT.

European Journal of Applied Physiology