Despite the performance concerns of dehydration in other sports, there are currently no data on the effects of rapid weight-loss on the physical and cognitive performance of jockeys in a sport-specific context. In a randomised crossover design, eight Great Britain (GB) male licensed jockeys were assessed for chest strength, leg strength, simulated riding performance (assessed by maximum pushing frequency on a mechanical riding simulator during the final two furlongs of a simulated 2 mile race) and simple reaction time after performing 45 min of exercise, during which euhydration was maintained (Control trial) or induced 2% dehydration (Rapid Weight-Loss trial). Reductions in both chest (–13.8 ± 3.03% vs. 0.62 ± 1.04%) and leg strength (–4.8 ± 4.8% vs. –0.56 ± 2.5%) were greater in Rapid Weight-Loss compared with Control (P < 0.01 and P = 0.04, respectively). Similarly, reductions in simulated riding performance were also greater (P = 0.05) in Rapid Weight-Loss (–2.8 ± 4.0%) compared with Control (–0.07 ± 1.5%), whereas there were no significant changes (P = 0.14) in simple reaction time. We conclude that a 2% reduction in body mass, as achieved by 45 min of moderate-intensity exercise undertaken in a sweatsuit (a common method of inducing acute dehydration by jockeys), significantly impairs maximum pushing frequency during a simulated race. In addition, the observed reductions in strength may also increase the occupational hazards associated with race riding.
Wilson, G., Hawken, M., Poole, I., Sparks, A., Bennet, S., Drust, B., Morton, J. P., & Close, G. L. (2014). Rapid weight-loss impairs simulated riding performance and strength in jockeys: Implications for making-weight. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(4), 383-391. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2013.825732