McMahon, G, and Kennedy, R. The effects of palm cooling on physiological and metabolic responses, exercise performance, and total volume during high-intensity bench press exercise in resistance-trained men. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2023—Previous research suggests that cooling distal to the working agonist muscles during the interset rest periods of high-intensity resistance exercise may facilitate improved performance by means of improving metabolic conditions of contractile machinery. However, these studies have not directly measured indicators of metabolic conditions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare 2 palm-cooling conditions with a thermoneutral condition during high-intensity resistance exercise and subsequent effects on physiological and metabolic responses and exercise performance. Eleven healthy, resistance-trained, young men (20–36 years old) performed 4 sets of bench press exercise to exhaustion at 80% 1 repetition maximum each separated by 3 minutes of passive recovery. Palm cooling (10° C [TEN] or 15° C [FTN]) or thermoneutral (28° C [CON]) condition was applied for 60 seconds during the recovery interval of each set in a randomized, double-blind fashion, with 4 days recovery between the experimental conditions. There were no differences (p > 0.05) in volume load between the experimental conditions across all sets. Mean repetition velocity and force of the bench press declined significantly following set 1 in all conditions (p < 0.05), but there were no differences between the conditions. Lactate, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion systematically increased from sets 1 to 4; however, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between any of the conditions. Palm cooling at either 10 or 15° C had no observable effects on physiological and metabolic responses during exercise, nor has it any effect on bench press performance or volume load compared with a thermoneutral condition. Therefore, cooling cannot be currently recommended as an ergogenic strategy to enhance acute bench press performance or mitigate fatigue during high-intensity resistance training.
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