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Acute Exercise Response in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries during High Intensity Interval Training.

Garfunkel, Cecile (2020) Acute Exercise Response in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries during High Intensity Interval Training. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are limiting to an individual’s health and reduce quality of life. Individuals with SCI are at higher risk for developing secondary health problems, due to physical inactivity.1,2 Current exercise recommendation consist of moderate intensity of 20-60 min./week three to five times/week, though most do not met recommendation levels.10,21 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been studied in various other populations, and deemed to be appropriate and beneficial to individual’s health.3,4,7,20,32,33 Health benefits from HIIT has not been studied within this population.
The objective of this study was to determine physiological and perceptual responses to HIIT in individuals with SCI and to describe between session variations, and differences among sub-categories: tetraplegia and paraplegia. Subjects participated in baseline- and post- graded exercise testing before and an exercise program consisting of 6 weeks (2x/week) of HIIT handcycling. Subject’s maximum power output recorded during baseline testing determine their training range. Subjects completed 2, 20 minute supervised at-home sessions (ten 60 second bouts of exercise at 90% maximum power output, then 60 seconds of 0-20% maximum power output), per week. Variables analyzed consisted of: peak heart rate (bpm), cadence (RPM), power (W), rate of perceived exertion (RPE), and feeling, time to peak HR, cadence, power, RPE, and feeling, and average power and cadence.
Eight subjects were included in the analysis. Two subjects did not complete all twelve training sessions. Average and peak power (W), peak HR (bpm), and RPE improved significantly from subjects’ first to last session of the exercise program. Between session variation showed a positive trend for average and peak power, peak feeling, and time to peak HR. A downward trend was observed for peak HR and RPE. No comparisons could be drawn between sub-groups due to the small sub-sample size.
HIIT was found to be safe, effective, and beneficial for individuals with SCI. Six weeks of HIIT handcycling elicited physiological and perceptual improvements within this population. The outcomes from this study should assist in validating HIIT exercise programming for individuals with SCI. Further research should expand to a larger sample size and an increased HIIT intervention timeframe.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Garfunkel, Cecileceg80@pitt.educeg80
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAllison,
Committee MemberKoontz,
Committee MemberLovalekar,
Date: 19 June 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 March 2019
Approval Date: 19 June 2020
Submission Date: 23 March 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 68
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: SCI, handcycling, High Intensity Interval Training
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2020 13:15
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 13:15


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