Rapid weight-loss impairs simulated riding performance and strength in jockeys: Implications for making-weight

G Wilson, M Hawken, I Poole, Andy Sparks, S Bennet, B Drust, J P Morton, G L Close

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-391
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date9 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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