Effects of Local heat pre-conditioning of the arms on strength performance
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Introduction: Repeated Strength performance is a highly important factor for sports performance and physical improvement. Athletes are constantly trying to improve strength capabilities in order to improve performance. Performing maximal strength exertion requires appropriate warm up preparations in order to achieve maximal force contractions. Heat stress has been shown in research to increase muscular and peripheral blood flow as well as increase the temperature of the muscle itself. Therefore, it is proposed that an increase in local temperatures of the performing muscles may enable an increase repeated strength performance. It is unknown whether the thermoregulatory system plays a detrimental or enhancing factor in anaerobic strength performance. This study examines whether localised increases in skin temperature can affect repeated bicep strength performance. Methods: Eight male recreationally strength trained university students (8 male; 20.75 ± 1.25 years; body mass 79.2 ± 18.4kg; height 180.9 ± 12.6cm) took part in the study. Test protocols included three laboratory based visits, including a single One Repetition Maximal (1RM) test and two Multiple Repetitions (MR) tests completed on separate occasions. Each MR test had been completed under differing controlled peripheral skin temperature conditions. Results: The results, analysed using Pearson’s 2-tailed correlational analyses on SPSS showed a significant positive relationship correlation existed (r = 0.903; p < 0.05). An increase in MR performance was observed (Mean MR Non-heat stress = 12.875; MR Heat Stress = 14.125) as a result of an increase in peripheral skin temperature via heat stress. Conclusions: Therefore, it is right to say that it is possible that the application of heat stress can directly improve strength performance. However, other factors such as psychological inhibitors, muscle potentiation and electrical stimulation during maximal voluntary contraction need to be taken into consideration. Drawing from this study, more advanced research is necessary within this area of physiological performance in order to obtain the true degree of influence heat stress has on strength performance.
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