Effect of divergent solar radiation exposure with outdoor versus indoor training in the heat: Implications for performance

Fergus O'Connor, Thomas M Doering, Geoffrey M. Minett, Peter R J Reaburn, Jonathan Bartlett, Vernon G Coffey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine physiological and perceptual responses and performance outcomes when completing high-intensity exercise in outdoor and indoor hot environments with contrasting solar radiation exposure. Seven cyclists and 9 Australian Football League (AFL) players undertook cycling trials in hot conditions (≥30 °C) outdoors and indoors. Cyclists completed 5 × 4 minutes intervals (∼80% peak power output [PPO]) with 2 minutes recovery (∼40% PPO) before a 20-km self-paced ride. Australian Football League players completed a standardized 20 minutes warm-up (∼65% mean 4-minute power output) then 5 × 2 minutes maximal effort intervals. Heart rate (HR), PO, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), thermal comfort (TC), and thermal sensation (TS) were recorded. Core (Tc) and skin temperature (Tsk) were monitored in cyclists alone. In both studies, ambient temperature, relative humidity, and solar radiation were monitored outdoors and matched for ambient temperature and relative humidity indoors, generating different wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) for cyclists, but the similar WBGT for AFL players through higher relative humidity indoors. The statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. Cyclists' HR (p = 0.05), Tc (p = 0.03), and Tsk (p = 0.03) were higher outdoors with variable effects for increased RPE, TS, and TC (d = 0.2–1.3). Power output during intervals was not different between trials, but there were small-moderate improvements in cyclists' PO and 20-km time indoors (d = 0.3–0.6). There was a small effect (d = 0.2) for AFL players' mean PO to increase outdoors for interval 4 alone (p = 0.04); however, overall there were small-moderate effects for lower RPE and TS indoors (d = 0.2–0.5). Indoor training in hot conditions without solar radiation may promote modest reductions in physiological strain and improve performance capacity in well-trained athletes
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Early online date9 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

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