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A Comparison of Mixed-Method Cooling Interventions on Preloaded Running Performance in the Heat

Stevens, Christopher J.; Bennett, Kyle J.M.; Sculley, Dean V.; Callister, Robin; Taylor, Lee; Dascombe, Ben J.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 620–629
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001532
Original Research

Stevens, CJ, Bennett, KJM, Sculley, DV, Callister, R, Taylor, L, and Dascombe, BJ. A comparison of mixed-method cooling interventions on preloaded running performance in the heat. J Strength Cond Res 31(3): 620–629, 2017—The purpose of this investigation was to assess the effect of combining practical methods to cool the body on endurance running performance and physiology in the heat. Eleven trained male runners completed 4 randomized, preloaded running time trials (20 minutes at 70% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max and a 3 km time trial) on a nonmotorized treadmill in the heat (33° C). Trials consisted of precooling by combined cold-water immersion and ice slurry ingestion (PRE), midcooling by combined facial water spray and menthol mouth rinse (MID), a combination of all methods (ALL), and control (CON). Performance time was significantly faster in MID (13.7 ± 1.2 minutes; p < 0.01) and ALL (13.7 ± 1.4 minutes; p = 0.04) but not PRE (13.9 ± 1.4 minutes; p = 0.24) when compared with CON (14.2 ± 1.2 minutes). Precooling significantly reduced rectal temperature (initially by 0.5 ± 0.2° C), mean skin temperature, heart rate and sweat rate, and increased iEMG activity, whereas midcooling significantly increased expired air volume and respiratory exchange ratio compared with control. Significant decreases in forehead temperature, thermal sensation, and postexercise blood prolactin concentration were observed in all conditions compared with control. Performance was improved with midcooling, whereas precooling had little or no influence. Midcooling may have improved performance through an attenuated inhibitory psychophysiological and endocrine response to the heat.

1School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, Australia;

2Applied Sports Science and Exercise Testing Laboratory, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia;

3School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia;

4ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Athlete Health and Performance Research Center, Doha, Qatar; and

5Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia

Address correspondence to Christopher J. Stevens,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.