Nav: Home

Lessons for optimizing exercise programs

January 25, 2017

Biological sex has little influence on how the body adapts to sprint interval training. That's according to findings published in Experimental Physiology and carried out at McMaster University, Canada.

Scientists previously thought that women may not respond to sprint interval training to the same extent as men. Studies had suggested that following several weeks of sprint interval training, women experienced smaller changes in the way that skeletal muscle takes up sugar and make new proteins as part of the exercise-induced remodelling process.

The new study shows that changes in gene expression over a short time-scale are very similar between men and women. The research also provides new insights into how exercise changes skeletal muscles on a molecular level. The findings demonstrate that brief, intense exercise is a powerful stimulus to elicit cellular remodelling in both sexes.

Unlike previous studies in this area, the Canadian lab matched the groups of men and women for baseline fitness. The subjects' maximal oxygen uptake was determined and expressed relative to fat-free mass, which is considered best practice to make comparisons between men and women. The researchers then obtained thigh muscle biopsies and analysed the samples to determine the expression of genes related to changes in muscle structure due to exercise.

Professor Martin Gibala from the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, senior author of the study, explained: "We need more rigorously controlled studies to determine whether in fact there are sex-specific differences in the chronic response to interval training, that is, over the course of weeks or months. An important message from our study is that brief, intense exercise seems to be effective in both men and women".
Notes to Editors

1. Full paper title: Effect of sex on the acute skeletal muscle response to sprint interval exercise DOI: 10.113/EP086118

2. Experimental Physiology focuses on the translation and integration of research, specifically manuscripts that deal with both physiological and pathophysiological questions that investigate gene/protein function using molecular, cellular and whole animal approaches.

3. The Physiological Society brings together over 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries. The Society promotes physiology with the public and parliament alike. It supports physiologists by organizing world-class conferences and offering grants for research and also publishes the latest developments in the field in its three leading scientific journals; The Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology and Physiological Reports.


The Physiological Society:
Julia Turan, Communications Manager
44 (0)20 7269 5727,

Corresponding author

Martin J. Gibala
Department of Kinesiology
McMaster University

The Physiological Society

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at