PRE-COOLING VESTS INCREASE ROWERS' ERGOMETER PERFORMANCE

Johnson, E. A., Sleivert, G., Cheung, S. S., & Wenger, H. (2005). Pre-cooling decreases psychophysical strain during steady-state rowing and enhances self-paced performance in elite rowers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(5), Supplement abstract 898.

Lightweight male rowers (N = 8) participated in three experimental rowing sessions on a Concept II ergometer (1500 m time trial) in a hot chamber (38C, 40% RH) one week apart. Pre-cooling was applied in two trials either as an ice-perfused or water-perfused vest. The control condition wore the vest with no cooling.

There were no significant differences between conditions for heart rate, rectal temperature, perceived exertion, or thermal sensation. Both cooling conditions produced lower skin temperature and greater thermal comfort as well as significantly increasing power output (~10%).

Implication. Pre-cooling with a vest significantly increased performance. Rowers chose a higher level of output right from the commencement of the ergometer task.

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