Self-control training leads to enhanced cardiovascular exercise performance
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of two weeks of self-control strength training on maximum cardiovascular exercise performance. Forty-one participants completed a cognitive self-control depletion task (Stroop task) followed by a maximal graded cycling test and were randomized to training (maximal endurance contractions of spring handgrip trainers, twice daily) or no-treatment control groups. At follow-up (2 weeks), half of each group completed either a time-matched or trial-matched Stroop task followed by another maximal graded cycling test. Results showed a significant 2-way (training X time) interaction (P < 0.001), and a trend for the 3-way (training X time X cognitive task) interaction (P = 0.07). Decomposition of the interactions revealed that across sessions cycling performance increased in both training groups, did not change in the trial-matched cognitive task control group, and declined in the time-matched control group. We conclude that isometric handgrip training leads to self-control strength adaptations that enhance maximal cardiovascular exercise performance or tolerance of exercise at maximal levels of effort.
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