Physiological and performance responses of sprint interval training and endurance training in Gaelic football players

David T. Kelly, Cathal J. Cregg, Paul L. O’Connor, Bryan D. Cullen, Niall M. Moyna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: While ideal for developing aerobic capacity, traditional endurance training (ET) is extremely time-consuming and may lack the specificity to maintain indices of speed and power in team sport athletes. In contrast, low-volume short-duration sprint interval training (SIT) has been shown to improve V ˙ O2max to a similar extent as ET. However, to date, few studies have compared the effects of running-based SIT and ET, on aerobic capacity and indices of speed and power of trained team sport athletes. Methods: Club level male Gaelic football players were randomly assigned to SIT (n = 13; 26.5 ± 4.87 years) or ET (n = 12; 25.4 ± 2.58 years) groups. Participants trained 3 days week−1 for 6 weeks. V ˙ O2max, RE, vV ˙ O2max, blood lactate concentrations, Wingate test performance, running speed, jump performance and intermittent endurance performance (IEP) were measured at baseline and after 6 weeks. Results: An increase in V ˙ O2max (p < 0.05), vV ˙ O2max (p < 0.001) and IEP (p < 0.001) following 6 weeks of both SIT and ET was observed. Wingate mean power (p < 0.001), peak power (p < 0.001) and fatigue index (p < 0.005) were all significantly improved following training in both groups. Velocity at LT was significantly higher and performance in the 20-m running speed and VJ tests were significantly reduced post training in the ET group (all p < 0.005). Conclusion: Despite the large difference in total training time, a running-based protocol of SIT is a time efficient training method for improving aerobic capacity and IEP while maintaining indices of lower body power and running speed in team-sport players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2275
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Maximal oxygen uptake
  • Power
  • Running
  • Speed
  • Team sport


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