Effects of run-training and swim-training at similar absolute intensities on treadmill VO2max

Debbie C. Lieber*, Richard L. Lieber, William C. Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Thirty-seven sedentary males, aged 28-35 yr, were either run-trained, swim-trained, or served as controls in an 11½-wk training study. Runners and swimmers exercised once a d, 3 d·wk, at a heart rate (HR) intensity equivalent to 75% of their treadmill VO2max. Treadmill maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), submaximal cardiorespiratory response, and body composition parameters were measured before and following the training period. Runners, swimmers, and controls experienced a significant increase in treadmill VO2max over the 11½-wk study period. The 28 and 25% increases observed for the runners and swimmers, respectively, were significantly greater than the 5% increase observed for the controls (P < 0.0001). Runners and swimmers did not differ significantly from each other with respect to this increase in VO2max; nor did they demonstrate significant changes in respiratory exchange ratio (RER) at VO2max between tests. The run-trained and swim-trained groups both experienced a decrease in HR at a standard submaximal walking workload but did not differ significantly from each other. Controls showed no significant change in submaximal exercise response. A significant difference was observed among groups (P < 0.01) for change in percent body fat. Changes in lean and fat weight over the training period were significant for both the runners (P < 0.002) and swimmers (P < 0.03) but not for the controls. Taken together, these data do not refute the concept of training specificity but do place restrictions on the conditions under which training specificity may be demonstrated. For example, under the training conditions in this study, central cardiovascular stresses were nearly equivalent, and therefore experimental groups, although trained in different exercise modes, demonstrated improvements in treadmill VO2max which were significant, equivalent, and not mode specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989


  • Body composition changes
  • Exercise
  • Training specificity
  • VO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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