A not so well known performance technique elite trainers use to drastically improve athlete performance is thermoregulation between working sets.
Professional teams, the military, and other elite athletes are employing the findings of a Stanford study to augment their performance in the gym.
The study in question was seeking to know if there was any connection between internal body temperature and training performance. What they found was incredible.
The control group of trainees was able to perform about 100 pull-ups total for the day over many sets in a set time window. The experimental group employing the new technique was able to perform 180 repetitions within the same time frame!
Not only is this result impressive right off the bat, but long term over many weeks of use the results were even more staggering. After a 3-week period of employing thermoregulation between sets, the trainees were able to perform 600+ pull-ups in the same time frame.
Amazing, but how does it work?
What is thermoregulation?
Put simply, thermoregulation it is the process of lowering your body temperature. But, how you go about doing this is key.
Many might think that a cold plunge or some other extreme measure is needed to cool off quickly enough for there to be noticeable effects.
Not so. In fact, such extreme measures may work against you. Because something like a cold plunge causes the body to vasoconstrict and conserve core body heat, you will actually lower your performance output.
Vasoconstriction is the process of your blood vessels tightening up to prevent the transfer of heat in key areas around the palms of your hands and bottoms of your feet. This effect will cause your body temperature to remain constant instead of dropping like it needs to.
Instead of shocking the body with a cold plunge, the researchers at Stanford created a cooling device for the one of those key areas.
They made a glove for the palms of your hands which sucks heat away and flows cool water through your hand at the same time. They are currently in the process of commercializing this technology for your use.
However, until you can buy your fancy chill gloves, here are some things you could do now to achieve some of the same results.
How to try thermoregulation on your own?
In between exercises, place your hands in a cool bucket of water or around a cool wet towel for 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can dip your feet in a bucket of cool water for a similar amount of time.
Make sure the water is not so cold that your body starts to constrict. What's important is that you are applying the water in those key areas where the body is most efficient at transferring heat.
To learn in much greater detail about this check out Andrew Huberman's podcast on the subject.
Team USA is currently hosting a Talent Discovery Combine on GMTM - searching for weightlifting athletes to develop into olympic level tallent. Regardless of if you employ this method – upload your reps to the Team USA Coaches. Previous submission to Team USA have garnered notable opportunities for athletes to train with former olympians on their journey to become one someday.
Jarod Smith is a developer for GMTM helping to build the essential social media platform for athletes. He started weightlifting while stuck at home during the pandemic and has been researching the science of it for almost a year.