Palmer Cooling, or Palm Cooling, as they say, is a simplified performance-enhancing method used by exercisers. Experts have discovered that applying cooling methods that target the glabrous skin of the palms can help you boost your gym performance considerably. It allows you to lift more weight, do more reps, run much further, and improve your overall performance.

It can help you boost your cardio output by up to 25%, increase the amount of weight you lift by 26%, and even increase the number of pullups you perform by 144%. Palm cooling helps you achieve these results by reducing muscle fatigue and preventing overheating, allowing you to perform longer and get better results. It’s all research-backed! 

How does this seemingly groundbreaking theory work in practice? And is it as effective as they say?  Let’s find out.

What Is Palm Cooling?

Palm cooling is not something entirely new; it is a method that has been discussed and researched for years. It offers incredible results for exercisers of all types, offering an increase in cardio output, a boost in weight lifting capabilities, an increase in reps, and gives you an edge in your performance. In other words, it allows you to push the limits of what you are able to achieve in a single workout. You will be equipped to reach your fitness goals much faster than you envisioned! Moreover, it works just as well for both men and women.

So, What Is It Exactly?

If you hit the gym often, you know when you have hit your limit. There comes a time between reps when you have to pack it up and head home. Palm cooling is meant to help you push your own perceived (and manifested) limits.

It involves taking bouts of rest between your exercise reps, during which you cool down the palms of your hands.  

The glabrous skin present on your inner palms lacks any hair and is rich with blood vessels close to the surface. Dilated blood vessels invite warm blood to the glabrous skin surface so it can dissipate heat into the air.

Of course, glamorous skin is present in multiple areas of the body, not just the palms. The soles of the feet, the flexor surfaces of your fingers, the face above your beard line, and even the lining of your lips, but how would you target these surfaces as you exercise?

The most practical area to cool down is your palms. By cooling down your palms, you promote heat dissipation from the body. As a result, you are able to stop the muscles from overheating and continue to perform for more extended periods.

Why Does The Body Heat Up With Exercise?

The idea is that we, as machines, generate heat as we function. The motor function produces heat even as we perform miscellaneous tasks throughout the day. Around 30% of your body heat is produced by muscles at rest. Put those muscles to work, and the heat output can be up to 40 times higher!

That is not all; only around 20% of the energy you exert during exercise is used in muscle contraction, and the remainder is lost as heat. Lost wouldn't be the correct term because most of this heat begins to accumulate in your body instead. The result? Your body's core temperature is elevated considerably.

You could continue to exercise, but your body wants you to stop. Once your body senses the temperature rise, it targets the enzymes responsible for muscle contraction, "pyruvate kinase.” This enzyme happens to be heat-sensitive (evolution really helped us here!).

Pyruvate Kinase is responsible for converting glucose into energy for muscle contraction. But higher temperature dampens its effects. Contracting your muscles becomes much harder. Another effect you will notice is an increase in mental fatigue. Your brain is signalled to stop movements and take a rest instead.

This heat exhaustion happens because your body can’t seem to get rid of the extra heat generated during exercise. If it rises too far, you may experience heavy sweating, dizziness, cramping, heat stroke, or even death. You could quite literally kill yourself by overheating your muscles!

This is where palm cooling comes in.

Remember how we mentioned the glabrous skin of your hands? Palm cooling is a strategic process that targets this skin. With increased blood vessels, your palms help facilitate heat loss. During exercise, getting rid of this extra heat becomes more difficult.

Palmer cooling simply nudges this process along so your muscles can recover faster and you can avoid the fatigue that comes from overheating.

It is not just palm cooling that should help you boost performance. You can also:

  • Wear light clothing that doesn’t constrict the muscles or trap heat
  • Drink cold water
  • Avoid covering the glabrous skin with gloves, beanies, headbands, or warm footwear.

palm cooling device

Does Palm Cooling Work? Let’s Hear It from The Experts

Theoretically, palmer cooling is a fascinating procedure. But does it work well when put to use?

Researchers from Stanford University were actually the first to point to the potential applications of palmer cooling. Dr Craig Heller, Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, is at the forefront of this discovery. While researching heat stress in military personnel, he discovered that palm cooling could help achieve performance gains.

Since then, experts have studied the effects of palmer cooling among regular exercisers and professional athletes. It is these studies that advocate palm cooling as an effective procedure for boosting performance.


1.   144% Increase In Pull-Ups And 25% Increase In Cardio Output With Palm Cooling

One particular study spearheaded by Dr. Craig Heller and his associates showed a stellar 144% increase in pull-ups performed by trained men in 6 weeks with the application of palm cooling. The same subjects were also trained without palm cooling for 2 weeks. A comparison of both performances showed a considerable increase in reps with palm cooling.

A similar study assessed the effects of palm cooling in high-intensity bench press reps. 16 men with an average of 10 years of lifting experience performed four sets of bench presses with 3-minute rest intervals. In the control session, they did the same sets without palm cooling to assess the amount of volume lifted. When compared, it was found that they were able to lift 26% more volume in just 3 days with palm cooling!

In addition to weight lifting and pull-ups, the effects of palmar cooling have also been studied on cardiovascular capacity. A 2005 study on 8 subjects concluded that palm cooling could help individuals perform up to 25% longer on a treadmill.

2.   Women Can Make Over 800 Push-Ups In Under An Hour With Palm Cooling

It is not just men who can benefit from palmer cooling; it works just as well for women. The comparison study for bench pressing with palm cooling on female subjects has shown similar results. With palm cooling between bench press reps, women could lift a volume load  200 kilograms higher than without palm cooling!

A similar study assesses the performance of a group of female students after doing 10 sets of pushups with 3 minutes of rest between sets. With the application of palm cooling, some women ended up doing close to 800 push-ups in an hour after several weeks!

3.    Palm Cooling Is Better Than Steroids

Many studies have been conducted to analyse the effects of a palm cooling glove, a device meant for palmar cooling. The application results are highly positive. In fact, they were so good researchers called them "better than steroids.” With anabolic steroids, you can boost your performance by close to 1% each week. But with palmer cooling, you can increase your performance by up to 201% every 4 weeks. Steroids simply do not compete!

Choosing A Palm Cooling Device/Medium

Palm Cooling is a research-backed procedure that can boost performance for all types of exercisers. However, results can always vary depending on the type of palm cooling device you use. Here are some general factors that you must assess.

A.  Material Conductivity

What material is the medium made out of? The material should have a high capability for heat conduction. This means materials like metal or even mediums like water do well. Materials like glass, plastic, wood, or fabric, which are poor conductors of heat, simply won't work.

B.  15°C Is The Right Temperature

Despite what you may think, palmer cooling doesn't mean you should plunge your palms into ice-cold water. Too low of a temperature, and you risk vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction occurs when the body is exposed to lower temperatures. The blood vessels contract to limit the blood flow, all in an effort to maintain and conserve internal heat. This prevents heat dissipation and can be counter-productive.

Ideally, you want the temperature for palm cooling to be 10°C to 15°C. It isn’t too cold that it would lead to vasoconstriction but is cool enough to support heat dissipation.

C.   Durability

Next, think of your training site. You might be training in an air-conditioned gym, or you could be working out at your at-home gym, or you might be running reps outdoors. Considering all of these two things are apparent:

  1. You need a palm cooling device that is durable and can withstand all types of external conditioners, indoors and outdoors.
  2. You need a device that has the ability to keep cool for your entire workout, either through easy cooling or refill. If it doesn't have this ability, the benefit will not be optimised.

D.  Usability & Convenience

It is not just the environment in which you will be using the device; it also depends on your workout regime. Most workouts aren't necessarily stationary, e.g., running or cycling, so you will want a device that can also be used in these situations. Palm cooling devices such as heavy gloves worn over the hands aren't ideal for moving cardio. Instead, you should opt for lightweight, easier-to-use devices that can be carried with you.

We will share an example of one that ticks just about all the needs we have listed above!

Prime Science Peak Performance Bar

Prime Science’s Peak Performance Bar is a device that promotes heat dissipation from the palms of your hands, so you can do more pulls up, lift more, run for longer, and recover faster, among other benefits. By systematically cooling down the body, you can continue to perform better and for longer periods.

This bar is made from a metal tube that is an excellent conductor of heat. You can fill in water to make it cool. When you are working out, hold this bar in your hands between reps so it can facilitate heat dissipation. It is portable and easy to carry; think of it as simply holding onto a water bottle. Its material design further makes it ideal for stationary and moving cardio alike.

The Peak Performance Bar in Action

Let's talk a bit more about the Peak Performance Bar and its design. It is a metal tube, as we discussed, but it is so much more than that.

It comes with a very convenient temperature indicator that allows you to assess the temperature of the device. When you need to put it to use, fill it with water and check if the temperature falls within the recommended range (~15°C). If the temperature is right, hold it in your hands and let it do its magic.

If you notice it is too warm, you can put in an ice stick and let it reduce to the required temperature. But this palm cooling device won't lose its cool temperature that quickly. It can keep cool for workouts for up to an hour or even longer (it can vary according to your external temperature).

Is There Any DIY Method For Palm Cooling?

If you are early to palm cooling and want to test its effects before purchasing a dedicated device, you can start with simple DIY methods as you work out. One of the simplest ways to start palm cooling is through a medium you are well acquainted with: Water!

Water is effective at cooling down temperatures thanks to its high thermal conductivity. You can test out how effective it is doing your workout by filling up a bucket (or any container) with water. For this to work, you will want to ensure the water is at a 15°C temperature, so having ice nearby is a good choice.

You will place your hands in the water between sets for them to cool off. Wipe your hands dry before you move on to the next set. Albeit messy, this is a great way to test out the theory for yourself!

This method works well only if you are working out at home. It becomes impractical in a gym setting. This is why getting a dedicated palm cooling device is recommended.

Final Thoughts

Palm cooling is an effective way to improve physical performance by accelerating muscle recovery and delaying the onset of fatigue. As you work out, the accumulation of heat in the body can begin to hinder your performance. A palm cooling device such as the Peak Performance Bar can help promote heat loss through the palms of your hand so you can get back to your workout. You will be able to push yourself further than you ever imagined!


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