Agility And Vertical Jump Performances Are Impacted By Acute Cool Exposure

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Abstract

Outdoor sports teams may be exposed to acute cold stress during competition, which may affect performance. Limited research has explored the effects of cold exposure on athletic components. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an acute whole-body cool exposure on pro-agility, vertical jump, and sprint performances. Eleven lightly clothed (∼0.3 clo) and not cold acclimatized volunteers (10/1 women/men: age 20.5 ± 0.5 y; height 1.65 ± 0.09 m; mass 63.3 ± 8.9 kg; body fat 21.3 ± 7.6%) completed performance tests in both thermoneutral (17.2°C, 36% relative humidity, Biddeford, Maine, USA) and cool (6.1°C, 72% relative humidity, Thorsmörk, Iceland) ambient temperatures. Prior to completing the performance tests, subjects engaged in a 5 min stretching routine and were subsequently exposed to either a thermoneutral or cool ambient environment for 15 min. Performance tests included three trials of maximal vertical jumps, and two trials of both the 36.6 m sprint and pro-agility tests. Mean performance and lactate values were compared via paired t-tests. Pro-agility completion time was significantly (p<0.05) slower in the cool (5.63 ± 0.33 s) than thermoneutral (5.43 ± 0.26 s) environment. Vertical jump was significantly (p<0.05) lower in the cool (0.36 ± 0.07 m) than thermoneutral (0.41 ± 0.10 m) environment. Sprint performance and lactate values were unaffected by the cool exposure. Brief cool exposure appears to influence agility and vertical jump performances. Our results suggest that it would be prudent for athletes and coaches to consider the ambient environment when preparing for competition.

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