The aims of this study were to investigate the influence of reduced-exertion, high-intensity interval training (REHIT), comparing a novel shortened-sprint protocol (SSREHIT) against a traditional protocol (TREHIT), on perceptual responses and to determine if changes in peak oxygen uptake (V˙O) are attenuated with shorter sprints. Twenty-four healthy men undertook 15 sessions of SSREHIT or TREHIT. V˙O was determined at baseline and after completion of each exercise condition. Affective (pleasure-displeasure) responses and perceived exertion were assessed during exercise to capture peak responses. Enjoyment was recorded 5-min after cessation of exercise. Compared to baseline, V˙O increased in both groups (6% for SSREHIT [=- 0.36] and 9% for TREHIT [- 0.53], p=0.01). Affective responses were more favourable for SSREHIT (p=0.001, =1.62), but both protocols avoided large negative peaks of displeasure. Peak ratings of perceived exertion were lower for SSREHIT (p=0.001, =- 1.71), although there were no differences in enjoyment (=0.25). The results demonstrate both exercise conditions can increase V˙O without overly compromising perceptual responses. Decreased sprint duration might further circumvent negative perceptual responses but might also attenuate physiological adaptations.
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