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Effects of warm-up and precooling on endurance performance in the heat
  1. Sandra Ückert1,
  2. Winfried Joch2
  1. 1Institute of Sports Science, University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Sports Science, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Ückert
 Institute of Sports Science, University of Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Str 3, 44227 Dortmund, Germany; sandra.ueckert{at}


Objective: To examine the effects of different thermoregulatory preparation procedures (warm-up (WU), precooling (PC), control (C)) on endurance performance in the heat.

Methods: 20 male subjects completed three treadmill runs to exhaustion (5 days apart). In each session, all subjects performed an incremental running test after WU (20 min at 70% maximum heart rate (HR)), after PC (wearing a cooling vest (0°C–5°C) for 20 min at rest) or without particular preparation (C). After a 5-min break, the exercise protocol commenced at a workload of 9 km/h and was increased by 1 km/h every 5 min until the point of volitional fatigue. Running performance, HR, blood lactate concentration, tympanic temperature and skin temperature were measured in each trial.

Results: In the PC condition, the running performance (32.5 (5.1) min; mean (SD)) was significantly (p<0.05) higher than in WU (26.9 (4.6) min) and in C conditions (30.3 (4.3) min). During the first 30 min of testing, HR, tympanic temperature and skin temperature were significantly (p<0.05) lower after PC than after WU. There were no significant differences in lactate concentration; however, there was a trend to lower values after WU.

Conclusions: The use of an ice-cooling vest for 20 min before exercising improved running performance, whereas the 20 min WU procedure had a distinctly detrimental effect. Cooling procedures including additional parts of the body such as the head and the neck might further enhance the effectiveness of PC measures.

  • BL, blood lactate
  • bpm, beats per minute
  • C, control
  • CT, core temperature
  • HR, heart rate
  • PC, precooling
  • ST, skin temperature
  • TPP, thermoregulatory preparation
  • Tt, tympanic temperature
  • WU, warm-up

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  • Published Online First 15 January 2007

  • Competing interests: None declared.