Balance and anaerobic performance are key attributes related to horse racing performance, but research on the impact of making weight for racing on these parameters remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rapid weight loss in preparation for racing on balance and anaerobic performance in a group of jockeys. Twelve apprentice male jockeys and 12 age and gender matched controls completed 2 trials separated by 48 hours. In both trials body mass, hydration status, balance and anaerobic performance were assessed. Between the trials, the jockeys reduced body mass by 4% using weight loss methods typically adopted in preparation for racing, while controls maintained body mass through typical daily dietary and physical activity habits. Apprentice jockeys decreased mean body mass by 4.2 ± 0.3% (P < .001) with a subsequent increase to a dehydrated state (P < .001). The controls maintained body mass and a euhydrated state. No differences in balance, on the left or right side, or in peak power, mean power or fatigue index were reported between the trials in either group. Results from this study indicate that a 4% reduction in body mass in 48 hours through the typical methods employed for racing in association with an increase in dehydration levels resulted in no impairments in balance or anaerobic performance. Further research is required to evaluate performance in a sport specific setting and to investigate the specific physiological mechanisms involved.
Dublin City University ->