Skin Application of Menthol Enhances Maximal Isometric Lifting Performance

Over, Daniel, Arjomandkhah, Nicola, Beaumont, Jordan, Goodall, Stuart and Barwood, Martin (2023) Skin Application of Menthol Enhances Maximal Isometric Lifting Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 37 (3). pp. 564-573. ISSN 1064-8011

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Over, DM, Arjomandkhah, N, Beaumont, JD, Goodall, S, and Barwood, MJ. Skin application of menthol enhances maximal isometric lifting performance. J Strength Cond Res 37(3): 564–573, 2023—Topical application of menthol to the skin improves perception (i.e., makes subjects feel cooler) and changes submaximal 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 male subjects (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 that performance would improve. Before completing the DLT (i.e., deadlift performance 75% 1RM) and a midthigh pull dynamometer IMLT, subjects were sprayed with (∼125 ml) of menthol or control spray. Performance, electromyography (root mean squared [rmsEMG], rectus femoris [RF], biceps femoris [BF], and medial gastrocnemius [MG]), perceptions (leg thermal sensation [TSlegs] and comfort [TClegs] and perceived exertion [RPE] and readiness to train), heart rate, and skin temperature were measured. Data were compared using analysis of variance (effect size
) and t test to a 0.05 alpha level supported by Bayesian analysis. Dynamic lifting task performance was unchanged, although BF rmsEMG was higher (i.e., greater muscle activation in final [10th] repetition). Isometric lifting task force production was higher in the menthol spray (148 ± 30 kgf) condition (control spray 140 ± 30 kgf; p = 0.035,
= 0.444) with corresponding higher rmsEMG (BF 3.8 ± 1.46 vs. control spray 2.9 ± 0.34 V; p = 0.049,
= 0.403). TSlegs was lower after menthol spray before IMLT; subjects felt slightly cool. Menthol spray enhances isometric weightlifting performance with corresponding changes in neuromuscular activity, partially supporting our hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: resistance exercise; TRPM8; muscular power; strength; muscle; activation
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: 07 Feb 2024 03:30

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