Table 1

Overview of the exercise training programmes of studies that have examined individual variability in exercise response

Study and groupsNFrequencyIntensityTimeModeDurationStandardisation% Female% WhiteAge, yearsBMI, kg/m2Baseline VO2max, mL/kg/minMean ∆VO2max∆VO2max range
Lortie et al 20*243–4×/week60%–85% HRR40–45 min/sessionCycle20 weeksMonitored HR every 2 min to make sure intensity was maintained.5410025 (4)% fat: 23 (8)37 (7)30 (15)%5%–88%
HERITAGE†
Bouchard et al 28
7203×/week55%–75% VO2max30–50 min/sessionCycle20 weeksCycles were controlled by HR. Intensity and duration were fixed but increased at different rates across subjects.566635.0 (14)26.5 (5.3)31.2 (8.8)384 (202) mL/min;
18 (9)%
−114–1097 mL/min
−5%–51%
DREW‡
Sisson et al 6
39724 weeksWeekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly. HR was continually monitored and recorded every 6 min, as were speed and grade on the treadmill and Watts on the cycle ergometer.100
Control871006657.2 (5.8)32.3 (3.9)15.6 (3)N/AN/A
4 KKW1383–4×/week50% VO2 peak72.2 (12.3) min/weekcycle and treadmill1005958.0 (6.5)31.4 (3.7)15.4 (3)29 (144) mL/min−33%–76%
8 KKW843–4×/week50% VO2 peak135.8 (19.5) min/week1005856.7 (6.4)32.3 (4.1)14.9 (2)88 (129) mL/min−25%–42%
12 KKW883–4×/week50% VO2 peak191.7 (33.7) min/week1007456.3 (6.0)31.0 (3.516.1 (3)106 (146) mL/min−14%–59%
Jyvaskyla§
Karavirta et al 55
74
Control3121 weeksMonitored HR to maintain intensity.5510052.5 (8.5)M: 25.3 (2); F: 24.2 (2)M: 35 (6);
F: 27 (6)
M: 0%; F: 1%M: −6 to +5%;
F: −5 to +7%
AT432×/weekAround aerobic and anaerobic thresholds60–90 min/sessionCycle4910052.5 (7.5)M: 24.8 (3); F: 25.7 (2)M: 33 (7);
F: 25 (5)
M: 10%; F: 18%M: 6%–15%;
F: 12%–24%
1 year trial¶ Scharhag-Rosenberger et al 56
AT
183×/week60% HRR45 min/sessionJogging/walking1 yearTelemetric HR system used. Intensity and duration fixed.10042 (5)24 (3)38 (5)0.36 (0.32) L/min−0.38 to 0.87 L/min
HART-D**
Johannsen et al 58
140625657.1 (8.1)34.4 (5.8)19.5 (4.3)mL/kg/minProportion achieving:
>0, >1.75, >3.5 mL/kg/min
Control339 monthsWeekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly. HR monitored.675258.2 (8.4)35.0 (6.2)18.7 (3.6)−0.5 (−1.4, 0.4)44%, 12.5%, 3.1%
AT513–5×/week65%–80% VO2 peak150 min/weekTreadmill636155.7 (7.9)34.1 (5.8)20.3 (5.2)0.2 (−0.6, 1.0)63%, 19.6%, 5.9%
AT/RT563–5×/week65%–80% VO2 peak645456.7 (7.6)34.7 (6.2)19.1 (3.4)0.9 (0.2, 1.6)68.5%, 31.5%, 17%
Wake Forest study in older adults††
Chmelo et al 57
314×/week65%–70% HRR30 min/sessionTreadmill walking5 monthsMonitored HR to maintain intensity. Intensity and duration fixed.788369.0 (3.6)34.1 (3.1)18.8 (3.7)1.5 (1.3) mL/kg/min; 7.9%0.4 to 4.3 mL/kg/min
Queens University Study‡‡
Ross et al 5
172L/min
LALI395×/week50% VO2 peak~30 min/sessionTreadmill walking24 weeksWeekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly. HR monitored.6410053.7 (6.9)33.2 (3.9)28.1 (5.3)0.26 (0.25)−8% to 30%
HALI515×/week50% VO2 peak~60 min/session6310052.5 (8.0)33.1 (5.1)29.0 (5.0)0.41 (0.31)−10% to 43%
HAHI315×/week75% VO2 peak~60 min/session5810053.9 (7.2)32.9 (3.7)28.6 (5.2)0.63 (0.29)+7% to 118%
  • Values presented as mean (SD).

  • *Lortie et al. Int J Sports Med 198420; standardisation: monitored HR every 2 min to make sure intensity was maintained; PA outside of study: no mention but sedentary whole lives before study; adherence: N/A

  • †HERITAGE 1999 (Bouchard et al. J Appl Physiol 1999)28; standardisation: cycles were controlled by HR. Intensity and duration were fixed but increased at different rates across subjects; PA outside of study: instructed to not exercise outside of study. PA logs taken; adherence: >95%; programme adherence was monitored several times per week. Participants were contacted when they appeared to be falling behind, and a plan was developed to bring them back on schedule as soon as possible

  • ‡DREW 2009 (Sisson et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009)6; standardisation: weekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly. HR was continually monitored and recorded every 6 min, as were speed and grade on the treadmill and Watts on the cycle ergometer; PA outside of study: step counter used to measure daily PA; adherence: 89%–95%. Ninety-seven per cent with completers only.

  • §Jyvaskyla 2011 (Karavirta et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011)55; standardisation: monitored HR to maintain intensity; PA outside of study: no mention; adherence: 99%.

  • ¶1 year study 2012 (Scharhag-Rosenberger et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2012)56; dtandardisation: telemetric system used. Intensity and duration were fixed; PA outside of study: no mention; adherence: high compliance but not quantified.

  • **HART-D 2013 (Johannsen et al. Diabetes Care 2013)58; standardisation: weekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly. HR monitored; PA outside of study: step counter used to measure daily PA; adherence: per protocol analysis >70%.

  • ††Wake Forest Study 2015 (Chmelo et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015)57; standardisation: monitored HR to maintain intensity. Intensity and duration fixed; PA outside of study: no mention; adherence: 86% AT, 85% RT.

  • ‡‡Queens Study 2015 (Ross et al. Mayo Clin Proc 2015)5; standardisation: weekly kcal goals for each group. Weighed weekly.

  • HR monitored; PA outside of study: PA measured at baseline, weeks 16 and 25 using accelerometer; adherence: >90%.

  • AT, anaerobic threshold; BMI, body mass index; F, female; HAHI, high amount high intensity; HALI, high amount low intensity; HRR, heart rate reserve; KKW, kcal per kilogram of body weight per week; LALI, low amount low intensity; M, male; PA, physical activity; RT, resistance training; VO 2max, maximal oxygen uptake.