Barley, OR, Iredale, F, Chapman, DW, Hopper, A, and Abbiss, C. Repeat effort performance is reduced 24 hours after acute dehydration in mixed martial arts athletes. J Strength Cond Res 32(9): 2555–2561, 2018—This study sought to determine the influence of acute dehydration on physical performance and physiology in mixed martial arts (MMA). Mixed martial arts athletes (n = 14; age: 23 ± 4 years) completed in a randomized counterbalanced order a dehydration protocol, (DHY: 3-hour cycling at 60 W in 40° C to induce 5% dehydration) or thermoneutral control (25° C: CONT) exercise, followed by ad libitum fluid/food intake. Performance testing (a repeat sled push test, medicine ball chest throw, and vertical jump) was completed 3 hours and 24 hours after the intervention, whereas urine and blood samples were collected before, 20 minutes, 3 hours, and 24 hours after the intervention. Body mass was reduced (4.8 ± 0.8%) after DHY (p < 0.001) and remained lower than CONT at 3 hours and 24 hours after DHY (p = 0.003 and p = 0.024, respectively). Compared with CONT, average sled push times were slower 3 hours and 24 hours after DHY (19 ± 15%; p = 0.001; g = 1.229 and 14 ± 15%; p = 0.012; g = 0.671, respectively). When compared with the CONT, handgrip was weaker 3 hours after DHY (53 ± 8 and 51 ± 8 kg; p = 0.044, g = 0.243, respectively) and medicine ball chest throw distances were shorter 24 hours after DHY (474 ± 52 and 449 ± 44 cm; p = 0.016, g = 0.253, respectively). No significant differences were observed in vertical jump (p = 0.467). Urine specific gravity was higher than CONT 20 minutes (p = 0.035) and 24 hours (p = 0.035) after DHY. Acute dehydration of 4.8% body mass results in reduced physical performance 3 and 24 hours after DHY. There is need for caution when athletes use dehydration for weight loss 24 hours before competition.
1Center for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia; and
2Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Address correspondence to Oliver R. Barley, firstname.lastname@example.org.