Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) Does Not Affect Sports People's Explosive Power: A Pilot Study

Front Hum Neurosci. 2021 Apr 29;15:640609. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.640609. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: This study is aimed to preliminary investigate whether transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) could affect explosive power considering genetic background in sport subjects. Methods: Seventeen healthy sports volunteers with at least 3 years of sports activities participated in the experiment. After 2 weeks of familiarization performed without any stimulation, each participant received either 50 Hz-tACS or sham-tACS. Before and after stimulation, subjects performed the following tests: (1) the squat jump with the hands on the hips (SJ); (2) countermovement jump with the hands on the hips (CMJ); (3) countermovement jump with arm swing (CMJ-AS); (4) 15-s Bosco's test; (5) seated backward overhead medicine ball throw (SBOMBT); (6) seated chest pass throw (SCPT) with a 3-kg rubber medicine ball; and (7) hand-grip test. Additionally, saliva samples were collected from each participant. Genotyping analysis was carried out by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: No significant differences were found in sport performance of subjects after 50 Hz-tACS. Additionally, we did not find any influence of genetic background on tACS-related effect on physical performance. These results suggest that tACS at gamma frequency is not able to induce an after-effect modulating sport performance. Further investigations with larger sample size are needed in order to understand the potential role of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS) in motor performances. Conclusions: Gamma-tACS applied before the physical performance fails to improve explosive power in sport subjects.

Keywords: ACE; BDNF; brain stimulation; motor cortex; polymorphism; sport performance; tACS.