In the last few years quite a few studies have been published on the benefits of high intensity short interval training.
The research reviewed here investigated the effects of very high intensity sprint interval training on metabolic and vascular risk factors in overweight/obese sedentary men (Whyte LJ, et al. 2010).
The exercise consisted of 4 to 6 sets of 30 second sprints on a stationary bike 3 times weekly for 2 weeks. The participants cycled as hard as they could with a resistance set according to what’s called the Wingate protocol and they rested for 4.5 minutes between the 30 second sprints.
This is very intense exercise, but the time spent exercising is not more than 2 to 3 minutes per exercise session. Per week it would not be more than 6 to 9 minutes total exercise time.
This is what the researchers found. After 2 weeks both maximum oxygen uptake and power output had increased significantly. Insulin sensitivity and resting fat oxidation rate (burning of fat for energy) were significantly higher and systolic blood pressure significantly lower.
Very interesting was also that both the waist and hip circumference decreased significantly compared with what it was when they started.