Sprint performance under heat stress: A review

O. Girard, F. Brocherie, D. J. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Training and competition in major track-and-field events, and for many team or racquet sports, often require the completion of maximal sprints in hot (>30°C) ambient conditions. Enhanced short-term (<30s) power output or single-sprint performance, resulting from transient heat exposure (muscle temperature rise), can be attributed to improved muscle contractility. Under heat stress, elevations in skin/core temperatures are associated with increased cardiovascular and metabolic loads in addition to decreasing voluntary muscle activation; there is also compelling evidence to suggest that large performance decrements occur when repeated-sprint exercise (consisting of brief recovery periods between sprints, usually <60s) is performed in hot compared with cool conditions. Conversely, poorer intermittent-sprint performance (recovery periods long enough to allow near complete recovery, usually 60-300s) in hotter conditions is solely observed when exercise induces marked hyperthermia (core temperature>39°C). Here we also discuss strategies (heat acclimatization, precooling, hydration strategies) employed by "sprint" athletes to mitigate the negative influence of higher environmental temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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