The combined effect of sprint interval training and postexercise blood flow restriction on critical power, capillary growth, and mitochondrial proteins in trained cyclists

Emma A. Mitchell, Neil R.W. Martin, Mark C. Turner, Conor W. Taylor, Richard A. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Sprint interval training (SIT) combined with postexercise blood flow restriction (BFR) is a novel method to increase maximal oxygen uptake (V O2max) in trained individuals and also provides a potent acute stimulus for angiogenesis and mitochondrial biogenesis. The efficacy to enhance endurance performance, however, has yet to be demonstrated. Trained male cyclists (n 21) (V O2max: 62.8 3.7 ml·min 1 ·kg 1 ) undertook 4 wk of SIT (repeated 30-s maximal sprints) either alone (CON; n 10) or with postexercise BFR (n 11). Before and after training V O2max, critical power (CP) and curvature constant (W=) were determined and muscle biopsies obtained for determination of skeletal muscle capillarity and mitochondrial protein content. CP increased (P 0.001) by a similar extent following CON (287 39 W to 297 43 W) and BFR (296 40 W to 306 36 W). V O2max increased following BFR by 5.9% (P 0.02) but was unchanged after CON (P 0.56). All markers of skeletal muscle capillarity and mitochondrial protein content were unchanged following either training intervention. In conclusion, 4 wk of SIT increased CP; however, this was not enhanced further with BFR. SIT was not sufficient to elicit changes in skeletal muscle capillarity and mitochondrial protein content with or without BFR. However, we further demonstrate the potency of combining BFR with SIT to enhance V O2max in trained individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Angiogenesis
  • BFR
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Power-duration relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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