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.

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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 femoris[RF], biceps femoris[BF], medial gastrocnemius[MG]), perceptions (Leg thermal sensation[TSlegs] and comfort[TClegs], 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
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences; 1116 Medical Physiology; Sport Sciences
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2023 10:04
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 01:18

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