Abstract

Metabolic and thermal adaptations resulting from endurance training in hot vs. cold water were compared. It was hypothesized that training in hot water would have greater effects on muscle glycogen use and blood lactate accumulation during exercise than training in cold water. Eighteen men exercised at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake while immersed in hot (n = 9) or cold water (n = 9) for 1 h, 5 days/wk, for 8 wk. Training in hot water (35 degrees C) potentiated body temperature increases during exercise, and training in cold water (20 degrees C) blunted body temperature increases during exercise. Before and after training, cardiorespiratory and thermoregulatory responses and muscle glycogen and blood lactate changes were assessed during a 1-h exercise trial in hot water and, on a separate day using the same intensity, in cold water. Oxygen uptake was similar for all trials, averaging 2.0 +/- 0.1 l/min. It was observed that 1) training reduced glycogen use and lactate accumulation during exercise, with no difference between cold and hot water training groups in the magnitude of this effect; 2) lactate accumulation during exercise was the same in hot water as in cold water; and 3) skin temperature decreased more rapidly during cold-water exercise after than before training, with no difference between cold and hot water training groups in the magnitude of this effect. Thus, exercise-induced body temperature increases are not an important stimulus for glycogen-sparing effects and blunted lactate accumulation associated with endurance training.