Methods to match high-intensity interval exercise intensity in hypoxia and normoxia – A pilot study

Yanchun Li, Jia Li, Muhammed M. Atakan, Zhenhuan Wang, Yang Hu, Mostafa Nazif, Navabeh Zarekookandeh, Henry Zhihong Ye, Jujiao Kuang, Alessandra Ferri, Aaron Petersen, Andrew Garnham, David J. Bishop, Olivier Girard, Yaru Huang, Xu Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) sessions prescribed on the basis of a maximal value (peak power output, PPO) and a submaximal value (lactate threshold, LT) derived from graded exercise tests (GXTs) in normoxia and hypoxia. Methods: A total of ten males (aged 18–37) volunteered to participate in this study. The experimental protocol consisted of a familiarization procedure, two GXTs under normoxia (FiO2 = 0.209) and two GXTs under normobaric hypoxia (FiO2 = 0.140), and three HIIE sessions performed in a random order. The HIIE sessions included one at hypoxia (HY) and two at normoxia (one matched for the absolute intensity in hypoxia, designated as NA, and one matched for the relative intensity in hypoxia, designated as NR). Results: The data demonstrated that there was significant lower peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak), peak heart rate (HRpeak), PPO, and LT derived from GXTs in hypoxia, with higher respiratory exchange ratio (RER), when compared to those from GXTs performed in normoxia (p < 0.001). Among the three HIIE sessions, the NA session resulted in lower percentage of HRpeak (85.0 ± 7.5% vs 94.4 ± 5.0%; p = 0.002) and V̇O2peak (74.1 ± 9.1% vs 88.7 ± 7.7%; p = 0.005), when compared to the NR session. HIIE sessions in HY and NR resulted in similar percentage of HRpeak and V̇O2peak, as well as similar rating of perceived exertion and RER. The blood lactate level increased immediately after all the three HIIE sessions (p < 0.001), while higher blood lactate concentrations were observed immediately after the HY (p = 0.0003) and NR (p = 0.014) sessions when compared with NA. Conclusion: Combining of PPO and LT derived from GXTs can be used to prescribe exercise intensity of HIIE in hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exercise Science and Fitness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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