Comparing time efficiency of sprint vs. High-intensity interval training in reducing abdominal visceral fat in obese young women: A randomized, controlled trial

Tom K K Tong, Haifeng Zhang*, Hongru Shi, Yang Liu, Jingwen Ai, Jinlei Nie, Zhaowei Kong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an emerging lifestyle intervention strategy for controlling obesity. HIIT consisted of brief all-out supramaximal sprint intervals was termed as sprint interval training (SIT). This study was designed to examine the time-efficient characteristics of SIT in reducing abdominal visceral fat. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the specific adaptations of SIT (80 × 6 s all-out cycle sprints interspersed with 9 s passive recovery) with those resulting from a HIIT regimen with training volume relatively higher (repeated 4 min bouts of cycling at 90% V·O2max alternated with 3 min rest, until the work of 400KJ was achieved), and with those of nonexercising control counterparts (CON). Forty-six obese young women (body fat percentage ≥30) received either SIT (n = 16), HIIT (n = 16), or no training (n = 14), 3-4 sessions per week, for 12 weeks. The abdominal visceral fat area (AVFA) and abdominal subcutaneous fat area (ASFA) of the participants were measured through computed tomography scans pre-intervention and post-intervention. Total fat mass and the fat mass of the android, gynoid, and trunk regions were assessed through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: Following the intervention, abdominal visceral and subcutaneous fat were reduced markedly (p < 0.05). The reduction in AVFA (-6.31, -9.7 cm2) was not different between SIT and HIIT (p > 0.05), while the reduction in ASFA (-17.4, -40.7 cm2) in SIT was less than that in HIIT (p < 0.05). Less reduction in the fat mass of the trunk (-1.2, -2.0 kg) region was also found in SIT, while the reductions in fat percentage (-1.9%, -2.0%), total fat mass (-2.0, -2.8 kg), and fat mass of the android (-0.2, -0.2 kg), and gynoid (-0.4, -0.3 kg) regions did not differ between the two regimes (p > 0.05). In contrast, the increase in V·O2max was significant greater following the SIT than HIIT (p < 0.01). No variable changed in CON. Conclusion: Such findings suggest that the lower training load and exercise time commitments of the SIT regime could optimize the time-efficiency advantage of the traditional HIIT, facilitating the abdominal visceral fat reduction in obese young women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1048
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abdominal fat
  • High-intensity interval training
  • Intervention
  • Obesity
  • Visceral fat area


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