Is performance of intermittent intense exercise enhanced by use of a commercial palm cooling device?

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2666-72. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b1f6a7.


The purpose of this study was to determine if using the CoreControl Rapid Thermal Exchange (RTX), a commercial palm cooling device, during active rest periods of multiple set training is an effective means to increase performance. Ten volunteers (5 men, 5 women) completed a VO2max test on a motorized treadmill and 3 interval running tests on a human powered treadmill. This treadmill allowed the subjects to quickly reach their running speed while allowing for measurement of distance, speed, and force. During the interval running tests the subjects completed eight 30-second intervals at a hard/fast pace followed by a 90-second walking or light jogging recovery period. During the recovery period, the subjects placed their left hand on 1 of 3 media: the RTX held at 15 degrees C (R), a 15 degrees C standard refrigerant gel pack (P), or nothing at all (C). Although there were differences in core temperature (Tc), subjective heat stress ratings, distance, and power generated between intervals, there were no significant differences (p < 0.05) found between treatments for any of these variables, nor was the interaction effect of interval*treatment found to be significant. Mean distance completed per trial was 717.1 m +/- 124.4 m (R), 724.8 m +/- 130.3 m (P), and 728.6 m +/- 110.6 m (C). Change in Tc from baseline to end-test averaged 1.41 degrees C +/- 0.37 degrees C (R), 1.41 degrees C +/- 0.39 degrees C (P), and 1.41 degrees C +/- 0.59 degrees C (C). There were no significant differences (p < 0.05) in Tc, heart rate (HR), or VO2 between intervals or treatments. We conclude that the RTX, in its current iteration, is ineffective at improving performance and/or mitigating thermal stress during high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Temperature
  • Cryotherapy / instrumentation*
  • Exercise Test
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Hand / blood supply*
  • Heart Rate
  • Heat Stress Disorders / diagnosis
  • Heat Stress Disorders / etiology
  • Heat Stress Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Rest / physiology
  • Running / injuries
  • Running / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Suction
  • Thermodynamics