Abstract

This investigation studied the importance of the rise in body temperature during exercise for aerobic capacity adaptations produced by endurance training. The approach used was to compare training effects produced by subjects exercising in hot (35 degrees C) water vs. cold (20 degrees C) water. Hot water was used to potentiate, and cold water to blunt, the rise in body temperature during exercise. Eighteen young men trained by cycle-ergometer exercise at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) while immersed to the neck in either hot (HWT, n = 9) or cold (CWT, n = 9) water for 60 min, 5 days/wk, for 8 wk. Before and after training, VO2max, erythrocyte volume, plasma volume, and vastus lateralis citrate synthase activity were measured. Training increased (P < 0.01) VO2max by 13%, with no difference between HWT and CWT in the magnitude of the effect. Erythrocyte volume increased 4% (P < 0.01) with training, with no difference between HWT and CWT in the magnitude of the effect. Plasma volume remained unchanged by training in both the HWT and CWT groups. Last, vastus lateralis citrate synthase activity increased by 38% with training, but there was no difference between HWT and CWT in the training effect. Thus, exercise-induced body temperature elevations are not an important stimulus for the aerobic adaptations to moderate-intensity endurance training.