Monday, February 20, 2017

Didn't you forget something upstairs?

In great shape.
I suggest you go find it, and go real fast.

A new study finds that all you need is a staircase and 30 minutes a week to give your body a great workout.

This is why old people are in such great shape: they keep forgetting why they went up or downstairs, so they have to go again, after reversing direction and informing the spouse of what they've just done.

In the study stair sprints were used as an example of sprint interval training, or SIT. This is an unfortunate acronym, no?

I looked it up, and I did find what Google calls a scholarly article confirming SIT is good for you. Kirsten A. Burgomaster, Scott C. Hughes, George J. F. Heigenhauser, Suzanne N. Bradwell, Martin J. Gibala wrote this up in the Journal of Applied Physiology. I wonder if they got into any arguments.

As evidence that this is real science, here's their study's abstract.
Parra et al. (Acta Physiol. Scand 169: 157–165, 2000) showed that 2 wk of daily sprint interval training (SIT) increased citrate synthase (CS) maximal activity but did not change “anaerobic” work capacity, possibly because of chronic fatigue induced by daily training. The effect of fewer SIT sessions on muscle oxidative potential is unknown, and aside from changes in peak oxygen uptake (V̇o2 peak), no study has examined the effect of SIT on “aerobic” exercise capacity. We tested the hypothesis that six sessions of SIT, performed over 2 wk with 1–2 days rest between sessions to promote recovery, would increase CS maximal activity and endurance capacity during cycling at ∼80% V̇o2 peak. Eight recreationally active subjects [age = 22 ± 1 yr; V̇o2 peak = 45 ± 3 ml·kg−1·min−1 (mean ± SE)] were studied before and 3 days after SIT. Each training session consisted of four to seven “all-out” 30-s Wingate tests with 4 min of recovery. After SIT, CS
Alternate plan.
maximal activity increased by 38% (5.5 ± 1.0 vs. 4.0 ± 0.7 mmol·kg protein−1·h−1) and resting muscle glycogen content increased by 26% (614 ± 39 vs. 489 ± 57 mmol/kg dry wt) (both P < 0.05). Most strikingly, cycle endurance capacity increased by 100% after SIT (51 ± 11 vs. 26 ± 5 min; P < 0.05), despite no change in V̇o2 peak. The coefficient of variation for the cycle test was 12.0%, and a control group (n = 8) showed no change in performance when tested ∼2 wk apart without SIT. We conclude that short sprint interval training (∼15 min of intense exercise over 2 wk) increased muscle oxidative potential and doubled endurance capacity during intense aerobic cycling in recreationally active individuals.


That strikes me as fairly concrete, not abstract. Then again, I'm not a scientist. Here is their conclusion, which they turned over to an intern to decode into English.
In conclusion, the results from the present study demonstrate that six bouts of sprint interval training performed over 2 wk (∼15 min total of very intense exercise) increased citrate synthase maximal activity and doubled endurance capacity during cycling exercise at ∼80% V̇o2 peak in recreationally active subjects. The validity of this latter observation is bolstered by the fact that all subjects performed extensive familiarization trials before testing and that a control group showed no change in cycle endurance capacity when tested 2 wk apart without any sprint training intervention. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that sprint training dramatically improves endurance capacity during a fixed-workload test in which the majority of cellular energy is derived from aerobic metabolism. These data demonstrate that brief repeated bouts of very intense exercise can rapidly stimulate improvements in muscle oxidative potential that are comparable to or higher than previously reported aerobic-based training studies of similar duration.
You know that's their conclusion, because, well, they tell you it is.

Okay, I'm going upstairs to hunt for my citrate synthase.

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