The Influence of Hot Humid and Hot Dry Environments on Intermittent-Sprint Exercise Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To examine the effect of a hot humid (HH) compared with a hot dry (HD) environment, matched for heat stress, on intermittent-sprint performance. In comparison with HD, HH environments compromise evaporative heat loss and decrease exercise tolerance. It was hypothesized that HH would produce greater physiological strain and reduce intermittent-sprint exercise performance compared with HD.

Method:

Eleven male team-sport players completed the cycling intermittent-sprint protocol (CISP) in 3 conditions, temperate (TEMP; 21.2°C ± 1.3°C, 48.6% ± 8.4% relative humidity [rh]), HH (33.7°C ± 0.5°C, 78.2% ± 2.3% rh), and HD (40.2°C ± 0.2°C, 33.1% ± 4.9% rh), with both heat conditions matched for heat stress.

Results:

All participants completed the CISP in TEMP, but 3 failed to completed the full protocol of 20 sprints in HH and HD. Peak power output declined in all conditions (P < .05) but was not different between any condition (sprints 1–14 [N = 11]: HH 1073 ± 150 W, HD 1104 ± 127 W, TEMP, 1074 ± 134; sprints 15–20 [N = 8]: HH 954 ± 114 W, HD 997 ± 115 W, TEMP 993 ± 94; P > .05). Physiological strain was not significantly different in HH compared with HD, but HH was higher than TEMP (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Intermittent-sprint exercise performance of 40 min duration is impaired, but it is not different in HH and HD environments matched for heat stress despite evidence of a trend toward greater physiological strain in an HH environment.

Hayes and Maxwell are with the School of Sport and Service Management, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK. Castle is with GlaxoSmithKline UK. Ross is with the English Inst of Sport. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mark Hayes. E-mail: M.Hayes@brighton.ac.uk