Effects of high- and low-intensity exercise training on aerobic capacity and blood lipids

Glenn A. Gaesser, Robert G. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Sixteen non-obese, non-smoking males, ages 20-30 yr, were assigned to one of two training groups, exercising on a cycle ergometer 3 d/wk for 18 wk: high-intensity (H; N=7; 80-85% VO2max 25 min/session) or low-intensity (L; N=9; 45% VO2max body weight, percent body fat, and 12-h fasting blood levels of cholesterol (CHOL), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The average post-training increase in VO2max for group H (0.56 1·min-1 8.5 ml·min-1·kg-1) was not significantly (P>0.05) greater than for group L (0.45 1·min-1 6.5 ml·min-1·kg-1). Significant reductions in percent body fat occurred in both groups, amounting to an average fat loss of approximately 1.35 kg. No statistically significant changes in CHOL, TG, HDL-C, LDL-C, CHOL/HDL-C, or HDL-C/LDL-C occurred in either group. However, changes in HDL-C after 18 wk of training were inversely correlated (r=-0.57, P<0.05) with pre-training levels. We conclude that 1) the minimum exercise training-intensity threshold for improving aerobic capacity is at least 45% VO2max; 2) 18 wk of high- or low-intensity exercise training is ineffective in significantly altering CHOL, TG, HDL-C, LDL-C, CHOL/HDL-C, and HDL-C/LDL-C in young male subjects with low blood lipid levels, and 3) exercise training-induced changes in HDL-C are dependent upon initial pre-training levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic capacity
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Exertion
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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