Exercise produces not only movement, but also heat, and this heat can be a limiting factor in performance. A number of studies have shown the cooling the body to slightly lower than normal temperatures can improve performance in both hot and moderate(18,24c) conditions. This pre-calling does not appear to change muscle metabolism, so it is probably just offsetting the natural rise in temperature. Pre-cooling does not appear to help with Sprint performance, and the benefits may be limited to 30-40 minutes of endurance exercise. There is some evidence that pre-cooling the working muscles and torso could impair performance compared with pre-cooling just the torso.
1 How to pre-cool
For most of us it's impractical to have an ice bath before training or competition. Even if it were practical, the chilling of the leg muscles may be unwise. Using an ice jacket is one approach used in several of the studies, but a simpler approach is to use a Jimbo Bandana before exercise to chill the torso.
2 See Also
- Taylor & Francis Online :: Whole-body pre-cooling and heat storage during self-paced cycling performance in warm humid conditions - Journal of Sports Sciences - Volume 17, Issue 12 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/026404199365326
- European Journal of Applied Physiology, Volume 100, Number 6 - SpringerLink http://www.springerlink.com/content/a4mw76508g053742/
- Improved running performance in hot hum... [Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997] - PubMed - NCBI http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9243494?dopt=Abstract
- Whole-body pre-cooling and heat storage during ... [J Sports Sci. 1999] - PubMed - NCBI http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10622353?dopt=Abstract
- Exercise duration and thermoregulatory responses after whole body precooling http://jap.physiology.org/content/79/6/1971.short
- Effect of slightly lowered body temperatures on endurance performance in humans http://jap.physiology.org/content/57/6/1731.abstract?ijkey=1cc0ed2074d3b0ffa29fd306524220b2d9a02e4d&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
- Effect of a precooling maneuver on body temperature and exercise performance http://jap.physiology.org/content/50/4/772.abstract?ijkey=a75e2fe6391bf7282e2486a2b3d597f19c1c652d&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
- European Journal of Applied Physiology, Volume 84, Number 6 - SpringerLink http://www.springerlink.com/content/f64vr5t791hhvaja/
- ScienceDirect.com - Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology - The influence of whole-body vs. torso pre-cooling on physiological strain and performance of high-intensity exercise in the heat http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1095643301002720
- Effect of wearing an ice cooling jacket on repeat sprint performance in warm/humid conditions http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1724622/
- Methods, advantages, and limitations of body cooling for exercise performance -- Marino 36 (2): 89 -- British Journal of Sports Medicine http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/36/2/89.short