Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31103
Physiological and Performance Effects of Glycerol Hyperhydration for World Championship Distance Duathlons in Hot Conditions

Authors: John McCullagh, Jaclyn Munge, NivanWeerakkody, Kerrie Gamble


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preexercise glycerol hyperhydration on endurance performance in a heat chamber designed to simulate the World Championship Distance (WCD) duathlon (10km run, 40km ride, 5 km run). Duathlons are often performed in hot and humid conditions and as a result hydration is a major issue. Glycerol enhances the body’s capacity for fluid retention by inducing hyperhydration, which is theorized to improve thermoregulatory and cardiovascular responses, and thereby improve performance. Six well-trained athletes completed the testing protocol in a heat chamber at the La Trobe University Exercise Physiology Laboratory. Each testing session was approximately 4.5 hours in duration (2 hours of pre-exercise glycerol hyper-hydration followed by approximately 2.5 hours of exercise). The results showed an increased water retention pre-exercise and an improved overall performance of 2.04% was achieved by subjects ingesting the glycerol solution.

Keywords: endurance performance, glycerol hyperhydration, heat chamber

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1831


[1] Cheuvront, S.N., R. Carter 3rd, and M.N. Sawka, Fluid balance and endurance exercise performance. Current sports medicine reports, 2003. 2(4): p. 202-208.
[2] Coutts, A., P. Reaburn, K. Mummery, and M. Holmes, The Effect of Glycerol Hyperhydration on Olympic Distance Triathlon Performance in High Ambient Temperatures. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2002. 12(1): p. 105-119.
[3] Walsh, R., T. Noakes, J. Hawley, and S. Dennis, Impaired highintensity cycling performance time at low levels of dehydration. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 1994. 15(7): p. 392-398.
[4] González‐Alonso, J., J.A.L. Calbet, and B. Nielsen, Muscle blood flow is reduced with dehydration during prolonged exercise in humans. The Journal of Physiology, 1998. 513(3): p. 895-905.
[5] Sawka, M.N., S.J. Montain, and W.A. Latzka, Hydration effects on thermoregulation and performance in the heat. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology-Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 2001. 128(4): p. 679-690.
[6] Sawna, M.N. and E.F. Coyle, Influence of Body Water and Blood Volume on Thermoregulation and Exercise Performance in the Heat. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 1999. 27(1): p. 167-218.
[7] Robergs, R., Glycerol hyperhydration to beat the heat. Sportscience Training Techniques, 1998.
[8] Gonzalez-Alonso, J., R. Mora-Rodriguez, P. Below, and E. Coyle, Dehydration reduces cardiac output and increases systemic and cutaneous vascular resistance during exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1995. 79(5): p. 1487-1496.
[9] Nadel, E.R., S.M. Fortney, and C.B. Wenger, Effect of hydration state of circulatory and thermal regulations. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1980. 49(4): p. 715-721.
[10] Sawka, M.N., L.M. Burke, E.R. Eichner, R.J. Maughan, S.J. Montain, and N.S. Stachenfeld, Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2007. 39(2): p. 377-390.
[11] Hitchins, S., D.T. Martin, L. Burke, K. Yates, K. Fallon, A. Hahn, and G.P. Dobson, Glycerol hyperhydration improves cycle time trial performance in hot humid conditions. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1999. 80(5): p. 494-501.
[12] Lyons, T. and M. Riedesel, Glycerol-induced hyperhydration: its effects on fluid compartments in the rat. Life Sciences, 1993. 53(23): p. 1779- 1787.
[13] Robergs, R.A. and S.E. Griffin, Glycerol - Biochemistry, pharmacokinetics and clinical and practical applications. Sports Medicine, 1998. 26(3): p. 145-167.
[14] van Rosendal, S.P., M.A. Osborne, R.G. Fassett, and J.S. Coombes, Physiological and performance effects of glycerol hyperhydration and rehydration. Nutrition Reviews, 2009. 67(12): p. 690-705.
[15] Goulet, E.D.B., R.A. Robergs, S. Labrecque, D. Royer, and I.J. Dionne, Effect of glycerol-induced hyperhydration on thermoregulatory and cardiovascular functions and endurance performance during prolonged cycling in a 25 degrees C environment. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism-Physiologie Appliquee Nutrition Et Metabolisme, 2006. 31(2): p. 101-109.
[16] Lyons, T., M. Riedesel, L. Meuli, and T. Chick, Effects of glycerolinduced hyperhydration prior to exercise in the heat on sweating and core temperature. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1990. 22(4): p. 477-483.
[17] Riedesel, M., D. Allen, G. Peake, and K. Al-Qattan, Hyperhydration with glycerol solutions. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1987. 63(6): p. 2262-2268.
[18] Freund, B., S. Montain, A. Young, M. Sawka, J. DeLuca, K. Pandolf, and C. Valeri, Glycerol hyperhydration: hormonal, renal, and vascular fluid responses. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1995. 79(6): p. 2069- 2077.
[19] Anderson, M.J., J.D. Cotter, A.P. Garnham, D.J. Casley, and M.A. Febbraio, Effect of glycerol-induced hyperhydration on thermoregulation and metabolism during exercise in the heat. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2001. 11(3): p. 315-333.
[20] Easton, C., S. Turner, and Y.P. Pitsiladis, Creatine and glycerol hyperhydration in trained subjects before exercise in the heat. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2007. 17(1): p. 70-91.
[21] Goulet, E.D.B., S.F. Rousseau, C.R.H. Lamboley, G.E. Plante, and I.J. Dionne, Pre-exercise hyperhydration delays dehydration and improves endurance capacity during 2 h of cycling in a temperate climate. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 2008. 27(5): p. 263-271.
[22] Marino, F.E., D. Kay, and J. Cannon, Glycerol hyperhydration fails to improve endurance performance and thermoregulation in humans in a warm humid environment. Pflugers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology, 2003. 446(4): p. 455-462.
[23] Monter, P., Y. Zou, R.A. Robergs, G. Murata, D. Stark, W.S. Quirm , D. Lium, and E. Greene, Glycerol hyperhydration alters cardiovascular and renal function. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 1999.
[24] Magal, M., M.J. Webster, L.E. Sistrunk, M.T. Whitehead, R.K. Evans, and J.C. Boyd, Comparison of glycerol and water hydration regimens on tennis-related performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2003. 35(1): p. 150-156.
[25] Green, H.J., L.L. Jones, and D.C. Painter, Effects of short-term training on cardiac function during prolonged exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1990. 22(4): p. 488-493.
[26] Watt, M.J., A.P. Garnham, M.A. Febbraio, and M. Hargreaves, Effect of acute plasma volume expansion on thermoregulation and exercise performance in the heat. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2000. 32(5): p. 958-962.
[27] Nelson, J.L. and R.A. Robergs, Exploring the potential ergogenic effects of glycerol hyperhydration. Sports Medicine, 2007. 37(11): p. 981-1000.
[28] Burke, L., M. Cort, G. Cox, R. Crawford, B. Desbrow, L. Farthing, M. Minehan, N. Shaw, and O. Warnes, Supplements and sports foods. Clinical Sports Nutrition. Sydney, Australia: McGraw-Hill, 2006: p. 485-579.
[29] Medicine, A.C.o.S., Guidelines for graded exercise testing and exercise prescription. 1980: Lea & Febiger.
[30] Wingo, J.E., D.J. Casa, E.M. Berger, W.O. Dellis, J.C. Knight, and J.M. McClung, Influence of a pre-exercise glycerol hydration beverage on performance and physiologic function during mountain-bike races in the heat. Journal of Athletic Training, 2004. 39(2): p. 169-175.
[31] Latzka, W.A., M.N. Sawka, S.J. Montain, G.S. Skrinar, R.A. Fielding, R.P. Matott, and K.B. Pandolf, Hyperhydration: tolerance and cardiovascular effects during uncompensable exercise-heat stress. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1998. 84(6): p. 1858-1864.
[32] Knight, C., A. Braakhuis, and C. Paton, The Effect of Glycerol Ingestion on Performance During Simulated Multisport Activity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 2010. 81(2): p. 233-238