Precooling lowers skin (Tsk) and core temperature (Tre) and can improve performance in hot conditions, but has predominantly been studied in males. This study investigated the effects of precooling on self-paced 2000 m rowing performance, within females, in hot, humid conditions. Eight physically active females (19.9 ± 1.5 yrs, 66.8 ± 3.1 kg, 30.0 ± 5.0% body fat) performed 2000 m rows in a randomised order within 3 conditions (CONT (20°C, 40%RH); HOT (35°C, 60% RH); PREC (35°C, 60% RH, preceded by precooling)). PREC consisted of 20 min precooling with a cold water shower, followed by a 2000 m row. In contrast, CONT and HOT consisted of 20 min passive rest in place of precooling. Tre and Tsk, and power output were recorded every 100 m of the rows. Muscle temperature (Tmu) was recorded at baseline, after 20 min passive rest/precooling and post row. No differences were observed between conditions for performance time (CONT; 8.89 ± 0.45 min; HOT, 9.01 ± 0.55 min; PREC, 8.87 ± 0.48 min; P = 0.42). Mean Tre during the row was not different between conditions (CONT, 37.8 ± 0.2°C; HOT, 37.7 ± 0.3°C; PREC, 37.5 ± 0.2°C; P = 0.12; main effect), although lower Tre was observed at 1600 m and 1800 m in PREC compared to HOT (P < 0.05). Tmu was significantly reduced following precooling (P = 0.03). Precooling did not enhance 2000 m rowing performance, despite differences in Tre, Tsk and Tmu. The lack of observed improvement in rowing performance following cold shower precooling may have been due to the short exercise time. An improvement in performance may have been observed using an alternate method of precooling which have been shown to be ergogenic in other sports.
Taylor, L., Mauger, A. R., Watkins, S. L., Fitch, N., Brewer, J., Maxwell, N., ... Castle, P. C. (2014). Precooling does not improve 2000m rowing performance of females in hot, humid conditions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(12), 3416-3424. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000558