D. Martin, Z. Fobar, B. Higashihara, S. Sendek, M. Shea, J. McKenzie

Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

PURPOSE: To analyze the effects of simultaneous pre-cooling the core body and pre-heating the legs on anaerobic exercise performance. METHODS: Twenty-two college-aged subjects (12 male, 10 female) participated in the study. The first day, subjects performed a 10-second practice Wingate test to minimize learning bias. In the second and third trials, subjects completed a 30-second Wingate test. The control trial had no intervention. The experimental trial included 20 minutes of passive pre-cooling of the core and pre-heating of the legs prior. Pre-cooling was achieved using an ice vest and ice neck wrap. Pre-heating was achieved by wrapping a heating pad around each thigh and calf (4 total). Each trial began with a 5-minute warm-up. Heart rate (HR, bpm), blood pressure (BP. mmHg), power output (W), anaerobic capacity (AC, W/kg), skin and temporal temperatures (ᵒC), and blood lactate levels (mmol/L) were recorded. Subjects completed a perceived exertion and activity level questionnaire following each trial. Data was analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA to determine differences between the conditions. RESULTS: Peak power increased by 64.61 W (p < 0.001) and average power increased by 25.96 W (p < 0.001) in the experimental trial. Average RPM increased by 3.95 (p < 0.001), and peak RPM increased by 4.82 (p = 0.013) in the experimental trial. Additionally, peak AC increased by 0.85 W/kg (p < 0.001) and average AC increased by 0.40 W/kg (p = 0.001) in the experimental trial. HR was 5.18 bpm higher (p < 0.001) and systolic BP was 6.82 mmHg higher (p < 0.001) in the experimental trial. There were no significant differences in blood lactate, perceived exertion, or mean arterial pressure. CONCLUSION: Simultaneous pre-cooling the core and pre-heating the legs improved Wingate performance. This was likely caused more so by the increased blood flow to the active muscles from the pre-heating aspect of the experimental condition. The lack of correlation between temporal temperature and power outputs for both conditions indicates the core temperature did not correlate to changes in power output. Adoption of a pre-heating strategy prior to short-duration, high-intensity athletic events could significantly increase performance across many anaerobic sports and competitions.

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