Cool Your Palms, Lift More

A few months ago, celebrity trainer Jay Cardiello suggested an easy way to boost your bench — soak your palms in ice-cold water or clutch ice cubes right before the lift. Now science is backing him up. In a study published in the August 2010issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers had 16 male subjects perform one-rep max bench presses normally after warming their hands in something called a rapid thermal exchanger and after chilling them in the same device. The researchers found that the men were able to put up significantly more weight with cold hands. Why?

Scientists aren’t sure but suspect it has something to do with the sensation of cold overriding fatigue. Just try to ignore the funny looks when dipping your mitts in an ice bucket on your next trip to the gym.