Skin Application of Menthol Enhances Maximal Isometric Lifting Performance

Over, Daniel, Arjomandkhah, Nicola, Beaumont, Jordan, Goodall, Stuart and Barwood, Martin (2022) Skin Application of Menthol Enhances Maximal Isometric Lifting Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. ISSN 1064-8011 (In Press)

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Topical application of menthol to the skin improves perception (i.e., makes subjects feel cooler) and changes sub-maximal neuromuscular recruitment facilitating force generation. We explored the effect of menthol (0.2 concentration; sprayed on the legs), on perception and maximal, dynamic (DLT) and isometric (IMLT) weight lifting tasks. Nine resistance trained males (mean ± SD: 24 ± 5 years; 75.7 ± 8.8 kg; 174 ± 10 cm; 5 repetition maximum deadlift 5RM 132.3 ± 28.5 kg) were tested using a repeated measures design; we hypothesized performance would improve. Prior to completing the DLT (i.e., deadlift performance 75% 1RM) and a mid-thigh pull dynamometer IMLT, subjects were sprayed with (~125 mL) of Menthol or Control-Spray. Performance, electromyography (root mean squared rmsEMG; rectus femorisRF, biceps femorisBF, medial gastrocnemiusMG), perceptions (Leg thermal sensationTSlegs and comfortTClegs, perceived exertion RPE and readiness to train), heart rate and skin temperature were measured. Data were compared using ANOVA (effect size ηp²) and t-test to 0.05 alpha level supported by Bayesian analysis. DLT performance was unchanged although BF rmsEMG was higher (i.e., greater muscle activation in final 10th repetition). IMLT force production was higher in the Menthol-Spray (148 ± 30 kgf) condition (Control-Spray 140 ± 30 kgf; p = .035, ηp² = .444) with corresponding higher rmsEMG (BF 3.8 ± 1.46 vs. Control-Spray 2.9 ± 0.34 v; p = .049, ηp² = .403). TSlegs was lower after Menthol-Spray prior to IMLT; subjects felt slightly cool. Menthol-Spray enhances isometric weightlifting performance with corresponding changes in neuromuscular activity; partially supporting our hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2022 13:33
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2022 13:45

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