Introduction: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) may enhance endurance performance. No previous study has directly compared distinct IPC protocols for optimal benefit. Purpose: To determine whether a specific IPC protocol (ie, number of cycles, amount of muscle tissue, and local vs remote occlusion) elicits greater performance outcomes. Methods: Twelve cyclists performed 5 different IPC protocols 30 min before a blinded 375-kJ cycling time trial (TT) in a laboratory. Responses to traditional IPC (4 × 5-min legs) were compared with those to 8 × 5-min legs and sham (dose cycles), 4 × 5-min unilateral legs (dose tissue), and 4 × 5-min arms (remote). Rating of perceived exertion and blood lactate were recorded at each 25% TT completion. Power (W), heart rate (beats/min), and oxygen uptake () (mL · kg−1 · min−1) were measured continuously throughout TTs. Magnitude-based-inference statistics were employed to compare variable differences to the minimal practically important difference. Results: Traditional IPC was associated with a 17-s (0, 34) faster TT time than sham. Applying more dose cycles (8 × 5 min) had no impact on performance. Traditional IPC was associated with likely trivial higher blood lactate and possibly beneficial lower responses vs sham. Unilateral IPC was associated with 18-s (−11, 48) slower performance than bilateral (dose tissue). TT times after remote and local IPC were not different (0 [−16, 16] s). Conclusion: The traditional 4 × 5-min (local or remote) IPC stimulus resulted in the fastest TT time compared with sham; there was no benefit of applying a greater number of cycles or employing unilateral IPC.
Cocking, Wilson, and Nichols are with the Athlete Health and Performance Research Center, Aspetar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar. Cable is with the Dept of Sports Science, Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar. Green, Thijssen, and Jones are with the Research Inst for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
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