COOLING VESTS DO NOT INFLUENCE CYCLING PERFORMANCE IN THE HEAT

Layton, A., Burnham, T., Pritchett, R., & Nethery, V. (2012). Effects of a cooling vest on cycling performance in a hot and humid environment. Presentation 1946 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study investigated the effects of wearing a cooling vest on cycling performance and thermoregulatory responses during a self-paced 40 Km time-trial in a hot and humid environment. Male cyclists (N = 10) performed two 40 Km laboratory-based time-trials consisting of: 1) wearing a light-weight ice vest for pre-cooling and during the entire trial, and 2) no vest or other cooling method. Both trials were conducted in a hot environment (~32.64C).

Performance times for 40 Km could not be compared for all Ss as 7 of 10 Ss reached critical core temperature (39.5C) prior to completing the time-trials. Four of the seven Ss rode longer before reaching critical core temperature with the vest (~39 minutes) compared to the no-vest condition (~34.75 minutes); however, this difference was not statistically significant. The mean final performance times for Ss that were able to finish the 40 Km time-trial was 1.08 min faster for the vest trials than with no vests (also a non-significant difference). No significant differences were found for core temperature, mean skin temperature, power output, percent max power output, heart rate, thermal comfort, thermal sensation, or rating of perceived exertion.

Implication. Wearing a cooling vest during a cycling time-trial in a hot and humid environment does not influence performance or thermoregulatory responses. [The small number of Ss in this investigation may have reduced the power of any statistical analysis.]

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