Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 26 - 34   DOI:

Research article
A Mixed-Method Approach of Pre-Cooling Enhances High-Intensity Running Performance in the Heat
Minxiao Xu1,2, Zhaozhao Wu2,6, Yanan Dong4, Chaoyi Qu2,3, Yaoduo Xu7, Fei Qin2,5, Zhongwei Wang1,2, George P. Nassis8,9, Jiexiu Zhao2, 
Author Information
1 School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sports, Shanghai, China
2 Exercise Biological Center, China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China
3 School of Sport Science, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China
4 Beijing Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China
5 School of Physical Education, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
6 Physical Education Department, Northwest University, Xi’an, China
7 Physical Education Department, Northwestern Poly-technical University, Xi’an, China
8 Physical Education Department-(CEDU), United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
9 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Jiexiu Zhao
✉ China Institute of Sport Science, No.11, Tiyuguan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
Publish Date
Received: 09-06-2020
Accepted: 01-12-2020
Published (online): 01-03-2021

We investigated whether single or combined methods of pre-cooling could affect high-intensity exercise performance in a hot environment. Seven male athletes were subjected to four experimental conditions for 30 min in a randomised order. The four experimental conditions were: 1) wearing a vest cooled to a temperature of 4 ™ƒ (Vest), 2) consuming a beverage cooled to a temperature of 4 ™ƒ (Beverage), 3) simultaneous usage of vest and consumption of beverage (Mix), and 4) the control trial without pre-cooling (CON). Following those experimental conditions, they exercised at a speed of 80% VO2max until exhaustion in the heat (38.1 ± 0.6 ™ƒ, 55.3 ± 0.3% RH). Heart rate (HR), rectal temperature (Tcore), skin temperature (Tskin), sweat loss (SL), urine specific gravity (USG), levels of sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), thermal sensation (TS), and levels of blood lactic acid ([Bla]) were monitored. Performance was improved using the mixed pre-cooling strategy (648.43 ± 77.53 s, p = 0.016) compared to CON (509.14 ± 54.57 s). Tcore after pre-cooling was not different (Mix: 37.01 ± 0.27 ™ƒ, Vest: 37.19 ± 0.33 ™ƒ, Beverage: 37.03 ± 0.35 ™ƒ) in all cooling conditions compared to those of CON (37.31 ±0.29 ™ƒ). A similar Tcore values was achieved at exhaustion in all trials (from 38.10 ™ƒ to 39.00 ™ƒ). No difference in the level of USG was observed between the conditions. Our findings suggest that pre-cooling with a combination of cold vest usage and cold fluid intake can improve performance in the heat.

Key words: Cooling prior to exercise, external and internal cooling, hyperthermia, thermoregulation, high-intensity aerobic exercise

           Key Points
  • Precooling strategies with 30 min independent or simultaneous precooling maneuvers could improve running performance of 80% VO2max in hot and humid climatic conditions compared with the control condition.
  • Wearing a 4™ƒ vest might augment the capacity of heat dissipation by decreasing Tskin.
  • Ingesting a 4™ƒ beverage might increase the capacity of heat storage and maintain homeostasis by reducing Tcore, HR and [Bla].
  • The mix method-precooling maneuver seems to be more effective than others by maintaining core-to-skin thermal gradient and fortifying heat storage to relieve thermophysiological strain.
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