Share this article on:

Effects of dehydration on isometric muscular strength and endurance


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 1998 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 284-288
Applied Sciences: Physical Fitness and Performance

To examine the effects of rapid dehydration on isometric muscular strength and endurance, seven men were tested at baseline (control) and after a dehydration (dHST) and a euhydration (eHST) heat stress trial. The dHST consisted of intermittent sauna exposure until 4% of body mass was lost, whereas the eHST consisted of intermittent sauna exposure (same duration as dHST) with water replacement. Peak torque was determined for the knee extensors and elbow flexors during three isometric maximal voluntary contractions. Time to fatigue was determined by holding a maximal voluntary contraction until torque dropped below 50% peak torque for 5 s. Strength and endurance were assessed 3.5 h after the HSTs (no food or water intake). Body mass was decreased 3.8 ± 0.4% post dHST and 0.4 ± 0.3% post eHST. Plasma volume was decreased 7.5 ± 4.6% and 5.7 ± 4.4%, 60 and 120 min post dHST, respectively. A small (1.6 mEq·L-1) but significant increase was found for serum Na+ concentration 60 min post dHST but had returned to predehydration level 120 min post dHST. Serum K+ and myoglobin concentrations were not affected by HSTs. Peak torque was not different (P > 0.05) among control, dHST, and eHST for the knee extensors (Mean (Nm) ± SD, 285 ± 79, 311 ± 113, and 297 ± 79) and elbow flexors (79 ± 12, 83 ± 15, and 80± 12). Time to fatigue was not different (P > 0.05) among control, dHST and eHST for the knee extensors (Mean (s) ± SD, 42.4± 11.5, 45.3 ± 7.6, and 41.8 ± 6.0) and elbow flexors(48.2 ± 8.9, 44.0 ± 9.4, and 46.0 ± 6.4). These results provide evidence that isometric strength and endurance are unaffected 3.5 h after dehydration of approximately 4% body mass.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale IL 62901

Submitted for publication January 1997.

Accepted for publication September 1997.

Address for Correspondence: Jeffery S. Greiwe, Washington University School of Medicine, Section of Applied Physiology, 4566 Scott Ave., Box 8113, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail:

©1998The American College of Sports Medicine