European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 9, pp 1951–1958 | Cite as

Three weeks of sprint interval training improved high-intensity cycling performance and limited ryanodine receptor modifications in recreationally active human subjects

  • Maja Schlittler
  • Daria Neyroud
  • Christian Tanga
  • Nadège Zanou
  • Sigitas Kamandulis
  • Albertas Skurvydas
  • Bengt Kayser
  • Håkan Westerblad
  • Nicolas PlaceEmail author
  • Daniel C. Andersson
Original Article



Mechanisms underlying the efficacy of sprint interval training (SIT) remain to be understood. We previously reported that an acute bout of SIT disrupts the integrity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ release channel, the ryanodine receptor 1 (RyR1), in recreationally active human subjects. We here hypothesize that in addition to improving the exercise performance of recreationally active humans, a period of repeated SIT sessions would make the RyR1 protein less vulnerable and accelerate recovery of contractile function after a SIT session.


Eight recreationally active males participated in a 3-week SIT program consisting of nine sessions of four–six 30-s all-out cycling bouts with 4 min of rest between bouts.


Total work performed during a SIT session and maximal power (Wmax) reached during an incremental cycling test were both increased by ~ 7.5% at the end of the training period (P < 0.05). Western blots performed on vastus lateralis muscle biopsies taken before, 1 h, 24 h and 72 h after SIT sessions in the untrained and trained state showed some protection against SIT-induced reduction of full-length RyR1 protein expression in the trained state. SIT-induced knee extensor force deficits were similar in the untrained and trained states, with a major reduction in voluntary and electrically evoked forces immediately and 1 h after SIT (P < 0.05), and recovery after 24 h.


Three weeks of SIT improves exercise performance and provides some protection against RyR1 modification, whereas it does not accelerate recovery of contractile function.


Physical exercise Skeletal muscle Sprint interval training Ryanodine receptor 1 



Cytosolic free [Ca2+]


Dihydropyridine receptor


Maximal voluntary contraction


Supramaximal paired electrical stimulation pulses at 10 Hz


Supramaximal paired electrical stimulation pulses at 100 Hz


Ryanodine receptor 1


Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase 2


Sprint interval training


Sarcoplasmic reticulum


Voluntary activation level


Maximal power reached during incremental exercise test



This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation (20160741 to D.C.A.), the Jeansson Foundations (to D.C.A.), the Swedish Society for Medical Research (to D.C.A.), the Stockholm County Council (LS 2016-1376 to H.W.), the Swedish Research Council (2018-02576 to H.W.), the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science (P2017-0134 to H.W.), the Research Council of Lithuania (SEN-08/2016 to M.S., H.W., A.S., S.K.), and by institutional funds from the University of Lausanne.

Author contributions

MS, DN, SK, BK, HW, NP, and DCA conceived and design the study. MS, DN, CT, NZ, HW, and NP acquired, analysed, and interpreted data. MS and DN drafted the manuscript and all authors reviewed and revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. All persons designated as authors qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify for authorship are listed.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no conflict of interests exists.

Supplementary material

421_2019_4183_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Sports Science and Innovation InstituteLithuanian Sports UniversityKaunasLithuania
  3. 3.Institute of Sport Sciences, Quartier UNIL-Centre, Faculty of Biology-MedicineUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Heart and Vascular Theme, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure and GUCH UnitKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  5. 5.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of Florida Health Science CenterGainesvilleUSA

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