No Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Anaerobic Test Performance in Resistance-trained Individuals

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Nicholas Hanson
Rachel Dykstra
Kyle DeRosia

Keywords

Wingate, Exercise, Performance, Anaerobic Power, Brain, Stimulation

Abstract

Introduction: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) sends a weak electrical current through the cerebral cortex. tDCS has been shown to be effective in longer activities (>75s) but minimal research has been performed with short, anaerobic tests. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of tDCS on Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT) performance.


Methods: Fifteen young, resistance-trained adults (23.7±2.7 years; BMI 24.9±2.6 kg×m-2; 12 males) volunteered for this study. Electrodes were placed at T3 and FP2 for anodal stimulation of the insular cortex (IC), and 2mA of current was supplied for 20 minutes; after a short rest period, subjects performed a WAnT. Dependent variables included peak/mean/relative power, peak heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Experimental and sham conditions were utilized. Paired-samples t-tests were used to determine the effect of tDCS on the dependent variables.


Results: Peak power in the experimental condition (1,019.0±237.5W) was not different than that of the sham (1,008.3±240.4W; p=.638). There were no differences in any other WAnT variables, and no differences in peak HR or RPE (all p>.05).


Conclusions: The results from this study suggest that tDCS in resistance-trained individuals is not effective in improving performance on an anaerobic test. In addition, it is still considered experimental and its ethical use is questionable.

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