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

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...