Three km Track Time Trial Performance Changes after HIIT in Competitive Cross-Country Skiers

Anneke Winegarden, Constance Lebrun, Louis Passfield, Patricia Doyle-Baker


Background: Limited research surrounding sex differences in fatigue and performance after high intensity interval training (HIIT) exists in the field setting. While lab-based protocols provide a controlled environment, physiological mechanisms of fatigue and performance response in competitive athletes are best measured by time-trial (TT). Few studies, however, have investigated fatigue in TT performance while controlling for the menstrual cycle (MC). Objective: The study investigated the influence of sex and MC phase on 3km track TT performance after a HIIT session in Competitive Cross Country (XC) skiers. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was employed and athletes over the age of 16 years (30F, 9M), were recruited from across Canada and completed 3 days of testing/training: a 3km track TT on Day 1 and Day 3; and a HIIT session (4-8x, 800m) on Day 2. MC phase was verified by ovulation testing and salivary hormone samples; athletes were classified as either “Low Hormone” or “High Hormone” for analysis. Results: An overall improvement in performance from pre- to post-HIIT TTs occurred (p<0.01). No significant differences in TT performance after HIIT were observed between sexes (p=0.16) or MC phase (p=0.26). Conclusion: These results indicate that competitive XC skiers will likely experience an improvement in TT performance after a bout of HIIT. Coaches and athletes should plan their workouts prior to testing accordingly to maximize TT performance. These results also suggest that no special adjustments need to be considered for differences in performance after HIIT between sexes and MC phase, although further studies with a greater sample size and repeated testing are warranted.


High Intensity Interval Training, Sex Differences, Menstrual Cycle Phase, Cross-Country Skiers

Full Text:



Albert, W.J., Wrigley, A.T., McLean, R.B. & Sleivert, G.G. (2006). Sex differences in rate of fatigue development and recovery. Dynamic Medicine,5(2), 1-10. DOI: 10.1186/1476-5918-5-2

Batterham, A.M. & Hopkins, W.G. (2006). Making meaningful inferences about magnitudes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 2006;1:(Suppl. 1):50-57. DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.1.1.50

Baird, D.T. & Fraser, I.S. (1974, Jun.). Blood production and ovarian secretion rates of estradiol-17 beta and estrone in women throughout the menstrual cycle. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 38(6), 1009-17. DOI: 10.1210/jcem-38-6-1009. PMID: 4598662.

Beals, K.A. & Manore, M.M. (2002). Disorders of the female athlete tried among collegiate athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 12(3), 281-293. DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.12.3.281

Bishop, P.A., Jones, E. & Woods, A.K. (2008). Recovery from training: A brief review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(3), 1015-1024. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816eb518

Blomqvist, C.G. & Saltin, B. (1983). Cardiovascular adaptations to physical training. Annual Review of Physiology, 45, 169-189. DOI: 10.1146/

Brown, M. (April 11, 2017). The longer the race, the stronger we get. Retrieved from

Campbell, S.E., Angus, D.J. & Febbraio, M.A. (2001). Glucose kinetics and exercise performance during phases of the menstrual cycle: effect of glucose ingestion. American Journal of Physiology, 281, E817-825. DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.2001.281.4.E817

Charkoudian, N., Stephens, D.P., Pirkle, K.C., Kosiba, W.A. & Johnson, J.M. (1999). Influence of female reproductive hormones on local thermal control of skin blood flow. Journal of Applied Physiology, 87(5), 1719-1723. DOI: 10.1152/jappl.1999.87.5.1719

Cheuvront, A.N., Carter III, R., DeRuisseau, K.C. & Moffatt, R.J. (2005). Running performance differences between men and women: An update. Sports Medicine, 35(12), 1017-1024. DOI: 10.2165/00007256-200535120-00002

Cobbold, C. (2018). Battle of the sexes: Which is better for you, high- or low-intensity exercise? Journal of Sport and Health Sciences, 7(4), 429-432. DOI: 10.1016/j.jshs.2018.05.004

Constantini, N.W. & Lebrun, C.M. (2005). The Menstrual Cycle and Sport Performance. Clinical Sports Medicine, e51-e82. DOI: 10.1016/j.csm.2005.01.003

Currell, K. & Jeukendrup, A.E. (2008). Validity, Reliability and Sensitivity of Measures of Sporting Performance. Sports Medicine, 28(4), 297-316. DOI: 10.2165/00007256-200838040-00003

Daussin, F.N., Zoll, J., Dufour, S.P., Ponsot, E., Lonsdorfer-Wolf, E., Doutreleau, S., Mettauer, B., Piquard, F., Geny, B. & Richard, R. (2008). Effect of interval versus continuous training on cardiorespiratory and mitochondrial functions: relationship to aerobic performance improvements in sedentary subjects. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 295, R264-R272. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00875.2007

De Cree, C. (1998). Sex steroid metabolism and menstrual irregularities in the exercising female: A review. Sports Medicine, 25(6), 369-406. DOI: 10.2165/00007256-199825060-00003

Elliott-Sale, K.J., McNulty, K.L., Ansdell, P. et al. (2020). The Effects of Oral Contraceptives on Exercise Performance in Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 50, 1785–1812.

Enoka, B.M. & Duchateau, J. (2016). Translating Fatigue to Human Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(11), 2228-2238. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000929

Gibala, M.J., McGee, S.L., Garnham, A.P., Howlett, K.F., Snow, R.J. & Hargreaves, M. (2009). Brief intense interval exercise activates AMPK and p38 MAPK signaling and increases the expression of PGC-1 in human skeletal muscle. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106, 929–934. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.90880.2008

Hardy, C.J. & Rejeski, W.J. (1989). Not what, but how one feels: The measurement of affect during exercise. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 11(3), 304-317.

Hebisz, R., Hebisz, P., Borkowski, J. & Zaton, M. (2019). Effects of concomitant high-intensity interval training and sprint interval training on exercise capacity and response to exercise- induced muscle damage in mountain bike cyclists with different training backgrounds. Isokinetics & Exercise Science, 27 (5), 1-9. DOI: 10.3233/IES-183170

Helgerud, J., Hoydal, K., Wang, E., Karlsen, T., Berg, P.L., Bjerkass, M., Simonsen, T., Helgesen, C., Hjorth, N., Bach, R. & Hoff, J. (2007). Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise, 39(4), 665-671. DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180304570

Hunter, S.K. (2016). The relevance of sex differences in performance fatigability. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(11), 2247-2256. 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000928

Hydren, J.R. & Cohen, B.S. (2015). Current scientific evidence for a polarized cardiovascular endurance training model. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(12), 3523-3530. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001197

Janse de Jonge, X.,A.,K., Thompson, M.W., Chuter, V.H., Silk, L.N. & Thom, J.M. (2012). Exercise performance over the menstrual cycle in temperate and hot, humid conditions. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(11), 2190-2198. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182656f13

Jones, M.D., Booth, J., Taylor, J.L. & Barry, B.K. (2014). Aerobic training increases pain tolerance in healthy individuals. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(8), 1640-1647. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000273

Julian, R., Hecksteden, A., Fullagar, H.H.K. & Meyer, T. (2017). The effects of menstrual cycle phase on physical performance in female soccer players. PloS ONE, 12(3): e0173951. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173951

Kellman, M. (2010). Preventing overtraining in athletes in high-intensity sports and stress/recovery monitoring. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20 (2), 95-102. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01192.x

Kilian, Y., Engel, F., Wahl, P., Achtzehn, S., Sperlich, B. & Mester, J. (2016). Markers of biological stress in response to a single session of high-intensity interval training and high-volume training in young athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 116, 2177-2186. DOI: 10.1007/s00421-016-3467-y

Kinugasa, Y. (2013). The Application of Single-Case Research Designs to Study Elite Athletes’ Conditioning: An Update. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 25(1), 157–166.

Knechtle, B., Valeri, F., Nikolaidis, P.T., Zingg, M.A., Rosemann, T. & Rust, C.A. (2016). Do women reduce the gap to men in ultra-marathon running? SpringerPlus, 5, 672-687. DOI: 10.1186/s40064-016-2326-y

Laursen, P.B. (2010). Training for intense exercise performance: high intensity or high volume training? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20 (Suppl. 2): 1-10. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01184.x

MacInnis, M.J. & Gibala, M.J. (2017). Physiological adaptations to interval training and the role of exercise intensity. The Journal of Physiology, 595(9), 2915-2930. DOI: 10.1113/JP273196

Marcora, S. M., Bosio, A. & de Morree, H. M. (2008). Locomotor muscle fatigue increases cardiorespiratory responses and reduces performance during intense cycling exercise independently from metabolic stress. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 294 (3), R874. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00678.2007

Marcora, S.M., Staiano, W. & Manning, V. (2009). Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106, 857–864. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91324.2008

Mattu, A.T., Iannetta, D., MacInnis, M.J., Doyle-Baker, P.K. & Murias, J.M. (2019). Menstrual and oral contraceptives cycle phases do not affect submaximal and maximal exercise responses. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 30(3), 472-484. DOI: 10.1111/sms.13590

Meendering, J.R., Torgrimson, B.N., Houghton, B.L., Halliwill, J.R. & Minson, C.T. (2005). Menstrual Cycle and sex affect hemodynamic responses t combined orthostatic and heat stress. American Journal of Sports Physiology. Heart & Circulatory Physiology, 289(2), H631-H642. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00029.2005

Micklewright, D., St Clair Gibson, A., Gladwell, V. & Salman, A. (2017). Development and validity of the rating-of-fatigue scale. Sports Medicine, 47, 2375-2393. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-017-0711-5

Minson, C.T., Halliwill, J.R., Young, T.M., & Joyner, M.J. (2000). Influence of the menstrual cycle on sympathetic activity, baroreflex sensitivity, and vascular transduction in young women. Circulation, 101, 862-868. DOI: 10.1161/01.cir.101.8.862

Mujika, I., Halson, S., Burke., L.M., Balangue, G., & Farrow, D. (2018). An integrated, multifactorial approach to periodization for optimal performance in individual and team sports. International Journal of Sports Physiology, 13(5), 538-561. DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0093

Noakes, T.D. (2000). Physiological models to understand exercise fatigue and the adaptations that predict or enhance athletic performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 10, 123-145. DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2000.010003123.x

Nordiq Canada. (2018). Run jump pull dryland testing. Retrieved from

Oosthuyse, T. & Bosch, A.N. (2010). The effect of the menstrual cycle on exercise metabolism: Implications for exercise performance in eumenorrheic women. Sports Medicine, 40(3), 207-27. DOI: 10.2165/11317090-000000000-00000

Oosthuyse, T., Bosch, A.N. & Jackson, S. (2005). Cycling time trial performance during different phases of the menstrual cycle. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(3), 268-76. DOI: 10.1007/s00421-005-1324-5

Price, F.G., Smith, J.W., Turner, A.J., Krings, B.M., Waldman, H.S., Chander, H., ... & McAllister, M.J. (2020). High-Intensity Interval Training in Middle-Distance NCAA Division I 800/1500m Collegiate Athletes. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science, 8(3), 28-35.

Reed, B.G. & Carr, B.R. (2018). The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. [Updated 2018 Aug 5]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000-. Available from:

Remes, K., Kuoppasalmi, K. & Adlercreutz, H. (1979). Effect of long-term physical training on plasma testosterone, androstenedione, luteinizing hormone and sex-hormone-binding globulin capacity. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical Laboratory Investigations, 39(8), 743–749. DOI: 10.1080/00365517909108166

Rietjens, G.J.M., Kulper, H., Adams, J.J., Sarks, W.H.M., van Breda, E., van Hamont, D. & Keizer, H.A. (2005). Physiological, biochemical and psychological markers of strenuous training-induced fatigue. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 26, 16-26. DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-817914

Schaumberg, M.A., Jenkins, D.G., Janse de Jonge, X.A., Emmerton, L.M. & Skinner, T.L. (2017). Oral contraceptive use dampens physiological adaptations to sprint interval training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49(4), 717-727. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001171

Sedlak, T., Shufelt, C., Iribarren, C., & Merz, C.N. (2012). Sex hormones and the QT interval: A review. Journal of Women’s Health, 21(9), 933-941. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3444

Sims, S. & Yeager, S. (2016). Roar: How to match your food and fitness to your unique female physiology for optimum performance, great health, and a strong, lean body for life. Rodale Inc. USA. pp. 8, 19-20.

Striker, R., Eberhart, R., Chevailler, MC., Quinn, F.A., Bischof, P. & Striker, R. (2006). Establishment of detailed reference values for luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, estradiol, and progesterone during different phases of the menstrual cycle on the Abbott ARCHITECT® analyzer. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM), 44(7), 883-887. DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2006.160

Talanian, J.L., Galloway, S.D.R., Heigenhauser, G.J.F., Bonen, A. & Spriet, L.L. (2007). Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. Journal of Applied Physiology, (Suppl. 4), 1439-1447. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006

Tze-Huan, L. Stannard, S.R., Perry, B., Schlader, Z., Cotter, J.D. & Mundel, T. (2017). Influence of menstrual phase and arid vs humid heat stress on autonomic and behavioural thermoregulation during exercise in trained but unacclimated women. Journal of Physiology, 595(9), 2823-2837. DOI: 10.1113/JP273176



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.