Previous research has suggested that cooling distal to the working agonist muscles during the inter-set rest periods of high-intensity resistance exercise may facilitate improved performance through increased agonist activation. However, these studies have used inappropriate EMG normalisation techniques. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare two palm-cooling conditions to a thermoneutral condition during high-intensity resistance exercise and subsequent effects on exercise performance, EMG amplitude and spectral frequencies using appropriate normalisation methodologies. Eleven healthy, resistance-trained, young males (20-36 years old) performed four sets of bench press exercise to exhaustion at 80% 1RM each separated by three minutes of passive recovery. Palm-cooling (10oC [TEN] or 15oC [FTN]) or thermoneutral (28oC [CON]) conditions were applied for sixty seconds during the recovery interval of each set in a randomised, double-blind fashion, with four days recovery between experimental conditions. Palm temperature was significantly lower (p0.05) in any bench press performance or EMG-related variables between any of the conditions. Palm cooling at either 10 or 15oC had no effects on bench press performance compared to a thermoneutral condition, with no observable effects on neuromuscular responses during exercise. Therefore, cooling is not currently recommended as an ergogenic strategy to enhance acute bench press performance during high-intensity resistance training.
- mean frequency
- median frequency