Ischaemic preconditioning does not alter the determinants of endurance running performance in the heat

Carl A. James*, Ashley G. B. Willmott, Alan J. Richardson, Peter W. Watt, Neil S. Maxwell

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Ischaemic preconditioning (IP) has been shown to be ergogenic for endurance performance in normothermic conditions and alleviate physiological strain under hypoxia, potentially through haemodynamic and/or metabolic mechanisms. Exertional hyperthermia is characterised by competition for blood flow between the muscles and skin, an enhanced metabolic strain and impaired endurance performance. This study investigated the effect of IP on the determinants of endurance performance, through an incremental exercise test in the heat. 

    Method: Eleven males completed two graded exercise tests in the heat (32 °C, 62 % RH) until volitional exhaustion, preceded by IP (4 × 5 min 220 mmHg bilateral upper leg occlusion) or a control (CON) condition (4 × 5-min 50 mmHg bilateral). 

    Result: IP did not improve running speeds at fixed blood lactate concentrations of 2 and 4 mMol L−1 (p = 0.828), or affect blood glucose concentration throughout the trial [mean (±SD); CON 5.03 (0.94) mMol L−1, IP 5.47 (1.38) mMol L−1, p = 0.260). There was no difference in V˙ O2max [CON 55.5 (3.7) mL kg−1 min−1, IP 56.0 (2.6) mL kg−1 min−1, p = 0.436], average running economy [CON 222.3 (18.0) mL kg−1 km−1, IP 218.9 (16.5) mL kg−1 km−1, p = 0.125], or total running time during graded exercise [CON 347 (42) s, IP 379 (68) s, p = 0.166]. The IP procedure did not change muscle temperature [CON ∆ = 0.55 (0.57) °C, IP ∆ = 0.78 (0.85) °C, p = 0.568], but did reduce TCORE during exercise (~−0.1 °C, p = 0.001). 

    Conclusion: The novel application of IP prior to exercise in the heat does not enhance the determinants of endurance performance. For events where IP appears ergogenic, muscle warming strategies are unnecessary as IP does not influence deep muscle temperature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1735-1745
    Number of pages11
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number9
    Early online date12 Jul 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Physiology (medical)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Endurance
    • Hyperthermia
    • Ischaemic preconditioning
    • Lactate threshold
    • Occlusion
    • V O2max


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