High intensity interval training exercise-induced physiological changes and their potential influence on metabolic syndrome clinical biomarkers: a meta-analysis

Ismael Serrablo Torrejon, A. Lopez-Valenciano, Maria Ayuso, Elizabeth Horton, X Mayo, G. Medina-Gomez, G Liguori, A. Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Despite the current debate about the effects of high intensity interval training (HIIT), HIIT elicits big morpho-physiological benefit on Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) treatment. However, no review or meta-analysis has compared the effects of HIIT to non-exercising controls in MetS variables. The aim of this study was to determine through a systematic review, the effectiveness of HIIT on MetS clinical variables in adults.
Methods: Studies had to be randomised controlled trials, lasting at least 3 weeks, and compare the effects of HIIT on at least one of the MetS clinical variables [fasting blood glucose (BG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) triglyceride (TG), systolic (SBP) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and waist circumference (WC)] compared to a control group. The methodological quality of the studies selected was evaluated using the PEDro scale.
Results: Ten articles fulfilled the selection criteria, with a mean quality score on the PEDro scale of 6.7. Compared with controls, HIIT groups showed significant and relevant reductions in BG (− 0.11 mmol/L), SBP (− 4.44 mmHg), DBP (− 3.60 mmHg), and WC (− 2.26 cm). Otherwise, a slight increase was observed in HDL-C (+ 0.02 mmol/L). HIIT did not produce any significant changes in TG (− 1.29 mmol/L).
Conclusions: HIIT improves certain clinical aspects in people with MetS (BG, SBP, DBP and WC) compared to people with MetS who do not perform physical exercise. Plausible physiological changes of HIIT interventions might be related with large skeletal muscle mass implication, improvements in the vasomotor control, better baroreflex control, reduction of the total peripheral resistance, increases in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and changes in appetite and satiety mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Endocrine Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


Funding Information: IS is funded by a PhD joint-scholarship from GO fit LAB Ingesport and Coventry University.


  • High intensity interval training
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metabolic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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