Special Issue "Research on High Intensity Functional Training"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Katie Heinrich

Associate Professor and Director, Functional Intensity Training Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 1-785-532-7771
Interests: high intensity functional training; tactical athletes; exercise interventions; physical activity and obesity policy; built environment; active transportation
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yuri Feito

Associate Professor of Exercise Science, Dept. Exercise Science & Sport Management, Kennesaw State University
E-Mail
Phone: 1-470-578-7764
Interests: high intensity functional training; clinical populations; blood flow restriction; physical activity; sports science; objective monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

High intensity training has dramatically increased in popularity over the past few years and is a key aspect of both exercise and sport. In particular, high intensity functional training (HIFT) programs integrate multiple exercise modalities in constantly varied sessions with an emphasis on functional movements that mimic those utlized in daily tasks. HIFT research has shown promise for this type of training to improve body composition, muscular strength, aerobic capacity, motivation, and emotional functioning, across a variety of populations. Despite some concern for injuries occuring from HIFT, research has shown rates to be similar to activities included in HIFT training (e.g., weight lifting, gymnastics), and much lower than those from repetitive activities such as running.

However, depite promising early research, there is much left to learn about HIFT programs and their behavioral, social, psychological and physiological contributions to exercise, sport, fitness, and health. Thus, the goal of this Special Issue is to add to the body of research for this popular style of training and we welcome original research, meta-analysis, reviews, and brief reports.

Prof. Dr. Katie Heinrich
Prof. Dr. Yuri Feito
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sports is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • exercise
  • intensity
  • physical activity
  • fitness
  • sport
  • health

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Physiological Performance Measures as Indicators of CrossFit® Performance
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
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Abstract
CrossFit® began as another exercise program to improve physical fitness and has rapidly grown into the “sport of fitness”. However, little is understood as to the physiological indicators that determine CrossFit® sport performance. The purpose of this study was to determine [...] Read more.
CrossFit® began as another exercise program to improve physical fitness and has rapidly grown into the “sport of fitness”. However, little is understood as to the physiological indicators that determine CrossFit® sport performance. The purpose of this study was to determine which physiological performance measure was the greatest indicator of CrossFit® workout performance. Male (n = 12) and female (n = 5) participants successfully completed a treadmill graded exercise test to measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), a 3-minute all-out running test (3MT) to determine critical speed (CS) and the finite capacity for running speeds above CS (D′), a Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT) to assess anaerobic peak and mean power, the CrossFit® total to measure total body strength, as well as the CrossFit® benchmark workouts: Fran, Grace, and Nancy. It was hypothesized that CS and total body strength would be the greatest indicators of CrossFit® performance. Pearson’s r correlations were used to determine the relationship of benchmark performance data and the physiological performance measures. For each benchmark-dependent variable, a stepwise linear regression was created using significant correlative data. For the workout Fran, back squat strength explained 42% of the variance. VO2max explained 68% of the variance for the workout Nancy. Lastly, anaerobic peak power explained 57% of the variance for performance on the CrossFit® total. In conclusion, results demonstrated select physiological performance variables may be used to predict CrossFit® workout performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Eight Weeks of High Intensity Functional Training on Glucose Control and Body Composition among Overweight and Obese Adults
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
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Abstract
High-intensity exercise has been found to positively influence glucose control, however, the effects of high-intensity functional training (HIFT) for overweight and obese sedentary adults without diabetes is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in body composition and glucose control [...] Read more.
High-intensity exercise has been found to positively influence glucose control, however, the effects of high-intensity functional training (HIFT) for overweight and obese sedentary adults without diabetes is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in body composition and glucose control from eight weeks of aerobic and resistance training (A-RT) compared to HIFT. Session time spent doing daily workouts was recorded for each group. Baseline and posttest measures included height, weight, waist circumference, dual X-ray absorptiometry (body fat percentage, fat mass, lean mass), and fasting blood glucose. Participants completing the intervention (78%, n = 9 per group) were 67% female, age = 26.8 ± 5.5 years, and had body mass index = 30.5 ± 2.9 kg/m2. Fasting blood glucose and 2-h oral glucose tolerance tests were used as primary outcome variables. On average, the HIFT group spent significantly less time completing workouts per day and week (ps < 0.001). No significant differences were found for body composition or glucose variables within- or between-groups. Even though our findings did not provide significant differences between groups, future research may utilize the effect sizes from our study to conduct fully-powered trials comparing HIFT with other more traditional training modalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Training Load, Well-Being, Heart Rate Variability, and Competitive Performance of a Functional-Fitness Female Athlete: A Case Study
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 9 February 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this case study was to quantify the magnitude of internal load, acute/chronic workload ratio (ACWR), well-being perception, and heart rate variability (HRV) following 38 weeks of functional-fitness training in a female elite athlete. The internal load was obtained with session [...] Read more.
The aim of this case study was to quantify the magnitude of internal load, acute/chronic workload ratio (ACWR), well-being perception, and heart rate variability (HRV) following 38 weeks of functional-fitness training in a female elite athlete. The internal load was obtained with session rating perceived exertion (session-RPE) while the ACWR was calculated by dividing the acute workload by the chronic workload (four-week average). Furthermore, HRV measurements were analyzed via a commercially available smartphone (HRV4training) each morning upon waking whilst in a supine position. The magnitude of internal load was: the weekly mean total during the 38 weeks was 2092 ± 861 arbitrary units (AU); during the preparation for the Open 2018 was 1973 ± 711 AU; during the Open 2018 it was 1686 ± 412 AU; and during the preparation for the Latin America Regional was 3174 ± 595 AU. The mean ACWR was 1.1 ± 0.5 and 50% of the weeks were outside of the ‘safe zone’. The well-being during the 38 weeks of training was 19.4 ± 2.3 points. There were no correlations between training load variables (weekly training load, monotony, ACWR, and HRV), and recuperation subjective variables (well-being, fatigue, sleep, pain, stress, and mood). This case study showed that the training load can be varied in accordance with preparation for a specific competition and ACWR revealed that 50% of the training weeks were outside of the ‘safe zone’, however, no injuries were reported by the athlete. The effectiveness and cost of these methods are very practical during real world functional-fitness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Whey vs. Pea Protein on Physical Adaptations Following 8-Weeks of High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): A Pilot Study
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
This study examined the effects of whey and pea protein supplementation on physiological adaptations following 8-weeks of high-intensity functional training (HIFT). Fifteen HIFT men (n = 8; 38.6 ± 12.7 y, 1.8 ± 0.1 m, 87.7 ± 15.8 kg) and women (n = [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of whey and pea protein supplementation on physiological adaptations following 8-weeks of high-intensity functional training (HIFT). Fifteen HIFT men (n = 8; 38.6 ± 12.7 y, 1.8 ± 0.1 m, 87.7 ± 15.8 kg) and women (n = 7; 38.9 ± 10.9 y, 1.7 ± 0.10 m, 73.3 ± 10.5 kg) participated in this study. Participants completed an 8-week HIFT program consisting of 4 training sessions per week. Participants consumed 24 g of either whey (n = 8) or pea (n = 7) protein before and after exercise on training days, and in-between meals on non-training days. Before and after training, participants underwent ultrasonography muscle thickness measurement, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), two benchmark WODs (workout of the day), 1-Repetition Maximum (1RM) squat and deadlift testing, and Isometric Mid-thigh Pull (IMTP) performance. Separate analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were performed on all measures collected at POST. Both groups experienced increased strength for 1RM back squat (p = 0.006) and deadlift (p = 0.008). No training effect (p > 0.05) was found for body composition, muscle thickness, IMTP peak force, IMTP rate of force development, or performance in either WOD. Using PRE values as the covariate, there were no group differences for any measured variable. We conclude that ingestion of whey and pea protein produce similar outcomes in measurements of body composition, muscle thickness, force production, WOD performance and strength following 8-weeks of HIFT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
Open AccessArticle
Validity, Reliability, and Application of the Session-RPE Method for Quantifying Training Loads during High Intensity Functional Training
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
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Abstract
The session rate of perceived exertion method (sRPE) has often been utilized in sports activities in which quantification of external training loads is challenging. The multi-modal, constantly varied nature of high intensity functional training (HIFT) represents a significant hurdle to calculate external work [...] Read more.
The session rate of perceived exertion method (sRPE) has often been utilized in sports activities in which quantification of external training loads is challenging. The multi-modal, constantly varied nature of high intensity functional training (HIFT) represents a significant hurdle to calculate external work and the sRPE method may provide an elegant solution to this problem. However, no studies have investigated the psychometric properties of sRPE within HIFT interventions. Twenty-five healthy men and women participated in six weeks of HIFT. Rate of perceived exertion and heart rate were assessed within every training session throughout the duration of the intervention. Compared to criterion heart rate-based measures, we observed sRPE method is a valid tool across individual, group, and sex levels. However, poor reliability in participants’ abilities to correctly match rate of perceived exertion with the relative level of physiologic effort (i.e., percentile of maximum heart rate) currently limits the utility of this strategy within HIFT. When applied, the validity and reliability of the sRPE seem to improve over time, and future research should continue to explore the potential of this monitoring strategy within HIFT interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Open AccessArticle
Mood State Changes Accompanying the Crossfit Open™ Competition in Healthy Adults
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Background: Specific mood states were examined during the CrossFit Open, a consecutive 5-week fitness competition involving five separate CrossFit® workouts, to determine whether the unique design or strenuous workouts of the competition resulted in acute and/or chronic mood state alterations. Methods: Participants [...] Read more.
Background: Specific mood states were examined during the CrossFit Open, a consecutive 5-week fitness competition involving five separate CrossFit® workouts, to determine whether the unique design or strenuous workouts of the competition resulted in acute and/or chronic mood state alterations. Methods: Participants (n = 8) completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire one-week prior to the competition (baseline), prior to (PRE), immediately post (IP), 30-min post- (30P) and 60-min post-workout (60P) each week. Tension, depression, anger, confusion, fatigue and vigor were derived from the POMS, as was Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) and an Energy Index (EI). Results: Workout intensity exceeded 93% HRmax each week. No differences were observed between baseline and PRE-workout mood states across weeks, indicating little effect of the unique competition design. Significant (week x time) interactions were observed for TMD (p = 0.037), EI (p = 0.038) and fatigue (p = 0.005). Acute mood state fluctuations were consistent across each week, where mood states improved to and beyond PRE values 60-min post-workout. Conclusions: In competitors, the differences in workout design between each week did not influence mood states. This may be related to adaptation to this style of training, while the acute mood state alterations are likely due to the workout intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Testosterone and Cortisol Responses to Five High-Intensity Functional Training Competition Workouts in Recreationally Active Adults
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 8 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 14 July 2018
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Abstract
To determine the salivary steroid response to high-intensity functional training (HIFT) competition workouts, saliva samples were collected from ten recreationally trained male and female competitors during a 5-week (WK1–WK5) international competition. Competitors arrived at their local affiliate and provided samples prior to (PRE) [...] Read more.
To determine the salivary steroid response to high-intensity functional training (HIFT) competition workouts, saliva samples were collected from ten recreationally trained male and female competitors during a 5-week (WK1–WK5) international competition. Competitors arrived at their local affiliate and provided samples prior to (PRE) their warm-up, immediately (IP), 30-min (30P), and 60-min (60P) post-exercise. Samples were analyzed for concentrations of testosterone (T), cortisol (C), and their ratio (TC). Generalized linear mixed models with repeated measures revealed significant main effects for time (p < 0.001) for T, C, and TC. Compared to PRE-concentrations, elevated (p < 0.05) T was observed at IP on WK2–WK5 (mean difference: 135–511 pg·mL−1), at 30P on WK3 (mean difference: 81.0 ± 30.1 pg·mL−1) and WK5 (mean difference: 56.6 ± 22.7 pg·mL−1), and at 60P on WK3 (mean difference: 73.5 ± 29.7 pg·mL−1) and WK5 (mean difference: 74.3 ± 28.4 pg·mL−1). Compared to PRE-concentrations, elevated (p < 0.05) C was noted on all weeks at IP (mean difference: 9.3–15.9 ng·mL−1) and 30P (mean difference: 6.0–19.9 ng·mL−1); significant (p < 0.006) elevations were noted at 60P on WK1 (mean difference: 9.1 ± 3.0 ng·mL−1) and WK5 (mean difference: 12.8 ± 2.9 ng·mL−1). Additionally, TC was significantly reduced from PRE-values by 61% on WK1 at 60P (p = 0.040) and by 80% on WK5 at 30P (p = 0.023). Differences in T, C, and TC were also observed between weeks at specific time points. Although each workout affected concentrations in T, C, and/or the TC ratio, changes appeared to be modulated by the presence of overload and workout duration. During periods of elevated training or competition, athletes and coaches may consider monitoring these hormones for consistency and as a means of assessing workout difficulty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Open AccessArticle
Are Changes in Physical Work Capacity Induced by High-Intensity Functional Training Related to Changes in Associated Physiologic Measures?
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) is a novel exercise intervention that may test body systems in a balanced and integrated fashion by challenging individuals’ abilities to complete mechanical work. However, research has not previously determined if physical work capacity is unique to traditional physiologic [...] Read more.
High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) is a novel exercise intervention that may test body systems in a balanced and integrated fashion by challenging individuals’ abilities to complete mechanical work. However, research has not previously determined if physical work capacity is unique to traditional physiologic measures of fitness. Twenty-five healthy men and women completed a six-week HIFT intervention with physical work capacity and various physiologic measures of fitness assessed pre- and post-intervention. At baseline, these physiologic measures of fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity) were significantly associated with physical work capacity and this relationship was even stronger at post-intervention assessment. Further, there were significant improvements across these physiologic measures in response to the delivered intervention. However, the change in these physiologic measures failed to predict the change in physical work capacity induced via HIFT. These findings point to the potential utility of HIFT as a unique challenge to individuals’ physiology beyond traditional resistance or aerobic training. Elucidating the translational impact of increasing work capacity via HIFT may be of great interest to health and fitness practitioners ranging from strength/conditioning coaches to physical therapists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Multimodal Nature of High-Intensity Functional Training: Potential Applications to Improve Sport Performance
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
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Abstract
Training for sports performance requires the development of multiple fitness components within the same program. In this context, training strategies that have the potential to concomitantly enhance metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness are of great value for athletes and coaches. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
Training for sports performance requires the development of multiple fitness components within the same program. In this context, training strategies that have the potential to concomitantly enhance metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness are of great value for athletes and coaches. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the current studies on high-intensity functional training (HIFT) and to assess how HIFT could be utilized in order to improve sport-specific performance. Studies on untrained and recreationally-active participants have led to positive results on aerobic power and anaerobic capacity, and muscular endurance, while results on muscular strength and power are less clear. Still, HIFT sessions can elicit high levels of metabolic stress and resistance training exercises are prescribed with parameters that can lead to improvements in muscular endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power. As similar training interventions have been shown to be effective in the athletic population, it is possible that HIFT could be a time-efficient training intervention that can positively impact athletes’ performances. While the potential for improvements in fitness and performance with HIFT is promising, there is a clear need for controlled studies that employ this training strategy in athletes in order to assess its effectiveness in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): Definition and Research Implications for Improved Fitness
Received: 16 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
High-intensity functional training (HIFT) is an exercise modality that emphasizes functional, multi-joint movements that can be modified to any fitness level and elicit greater muscle recruitment than more traditional exercise. As a relatively new training modality, HIFT is often compared to high-intensity interval [...] Read more.
High-intensity functional training (HIFT) is an exercise modality that emphasizes functional, multi-joint movements that can be modified to any fitness level and elicit greater muscle recruitment than more traditional exercise. As a relatively new training modality, HIFT is often compared to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yet the two are distinct. HIIT exercise is characterized by relatively short bursts of repeated vigorous activity, interspersed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise for recovery, while HIFT utilizes constantly varied functional exercises and various activity durations that may or may not incorporate rest. Over the last decade, studies evaluating the effectiveness of HIIT programs have documented improvements in metabolic and cardiorespiratory adaptations; however, less is known about the effects of HIFT. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide a working definition of HIFT and review the available literature regarding its use to improve metabolic and cardiorespiratory adaptations in strength and conditioning programs among various populations. Additionally, we aim to create a definition that is used in future publications to evaluate more effectively the future impact of this type of training on health and fitness outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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