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J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):2261-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31829cef4e.

Palm Cooling and Heating Delays Fatigue During Resistance Exercise in Women.

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1Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California; 2School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia; 3Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and 4Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


We previously reported that cold application to the palms between sets of high-intensity bench press exercise produces an ergogenic effect in men. In this study, we hypothesized that palm cooling (PC) or heating during rest intervals between high-intensity weight training sets will increase total repetitions and exercise volume load (kilograms) in resistance trained female subjects in a thermoneutral (TN) environment. Eight female subjects (mean ± SD, age = 25 ± 6 years, height = 160 ± 6 cm, body mass = 56 ± 7 kg, 1-repetition maximum [1RM] = 52 ± 6 kg, weight training experience = 6 ± 2 years) completed 4 sets of 85% 1RM bench press exercise to failure, with 3-minute rest intervals. Exercise trials were performed in a counterbalanced order on 3 days, separated by at least 3 days in TN, Palm heating (PH), and PC conditions. Heating and cooling were applied by placing both hands in a hand cooling device with the hand plate set to 45° C for heating and 10° C for cooling. Data were analyzed using a 2-factor repeated-measures analysis of variance and Tukey's post hoc tests. Palm cooling repetitions were significantly higher than TN repetitions during the second set, and PH repetitions were significantly higher than those of TN during the fourth set. Total exercise volume load (kilograms) for both PC (1,387 ± 358) and PH (1,349 ± 267) were significantly higher than TN (1,187 ± 262). In women, both heating and cooling of the palms between sets of resistance exercise increased the total exercise volume load performed. This ergogenic response to a peripheral sensory input is consistent with the central governor theory of muscular fatigue.

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