210119 Resistance Training in Cold Weather
By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS*D
Resistance training places high internal and external load demands on the human body. It must be physically prepared to meet and exceed these artificially designed stresses. To successfully adapt, conditions within the body must be favorable. Temperature variations, however, can sometimes overpower the metabolic responses of the organism
Weight training in an unheated building is the gold standard for hardcore lifting. Anyone can go to an air-conditioned or heated commercial gym to lift, but how many lifters actually look forward to exercising in the ambience of a near freezing outbuilding gym. It separates the serious true strength athlete from the wannabe’s.
I am NOT saying a cold environment is a bed of roses, but it can be a strong motivator to keep moving and stay in the correct work-to-rest ratio. Resting is not an option when it is cold. Movement produces heat and heat keeps the body ready for action. Under certain conditions, however, it can be downright dangerous to be out in the cold.
If you develop any chest pains when you exercise in the cold, but not when it’s warm outside, see your doctor. The cold air hitting your face constricts the blood vessels; this in turn raises your blood pressure, which makes your heart work harder to pump blood to the body. The heart rate also slows, so less blood reaches the heart. If your heart is working harder, it needs more blood. But the slower heart rate is bringing less blood which results in decreased oxygen supply. Now your heart hurts.
References Cited for Resistance Training in Cold Weather:
Arnheim, Daniel D. Modern Principles of Athletic Training. Mirror/Mosby. 1989: 303-4.
Houston, Charles, S., M.D. Merck Manual of Medical Information. Simon and Schuster. 1997:1345-7.
Katch, F.I, V.L. Katch, and W.D. McArdle. Exercise Physiology. Lippincott. 1996 (4th ed.): 351, 502-3, 505-21.
Michele, Lyle, J. The Sports Medicine Bible. Harper Collins.
Schneipp, Jason, Terry S. Campbell, Kasey L. Lincoln Powell, and Danny M. Pincivero. “The Effects of Cold-water Immersion on Power Output and Heart rate on Elite Cyclists.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16 (Nov. 2002): 561
Search and Rescue Survival Training. Department of the Air Force, USAF. 1985. (Currently in use at the Survival School