Practical precooling: effect on cycling time trial performance in warm conditions

J Sports Sci. 2008 Dec;26(14):1477-87. doi: 10.1080/02640410802298268.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two practical precooling techniques (skin cooling vs. skin + core cooling) on cycling time trial performance in warm conditions. Six trained cyclists completed one maximal graded exercise test (VO2(peak) 71.4 +/- 3.2 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and four approximately 40 min laboratory cycling time trials in a heat chamber (34.3 degrees C +/- 1.1 degrees C; 41.2% +/- 3.0% rh) using a fixed-power/variable-power format. Cyclists prepared for the time trial using three techniques administered in a randomised order prior to the warm-up: (1) no cooling (control), (2) cooling jacket for 40 min (jacket) or (3) 30-min water immersion followed by a cooling jacket application for 40 min (combined). Rectal temperature prior to the time trial was 37.8 degrees C +/- 0.1 degrees C in control, similar in jacket (37.8 degrees C +/- 0.3 degrees C) and lower in combined (37.1 degrees C +/- 0.2 degrees C, P < 0.01). Compared with the control trial, time trial performance was not different for jacket precooling (-16 +/- 36 s, -0.7%; P = 0.35) but was faster for combined precooling (-42 +/- 25 s, - .8%; P = 0.009). In conclusion, a practical combined precooling strategy that involves immersion in cool water followed by the use of a cooling jacket can produce decrease in rectal temperature that persist throughout a warm-up and improve laboratory cycling time trial performance in warm conditions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Body Temperature* / physiology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis