Cold-Water Immersion and Contrast Water Therapy: No Improvement of Short-Term Recovery After Resistance Training

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Christos K. Argus
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James R. Broatch
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Aaron C. Petersen
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Remco Polman
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David J. Bishop
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Shona Halson
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Context:

An athlete’s ability to recover quickly is important when there is limited time between training and competition. As such, recovery strategies are commonly used to expedite the recovery process.

Purpose:

To determine the effectiveness of both cold-water immersion (CWI) and contrast water therapy (CWT) compared with control on short-term recovery (<4 h) after a single full-body resistance-training session.

Methods:

Thirteen men (age 26 ± 5 y, weight 79 ± 7 kg, height 177 ± 5 cm) were assessed for perceptual (fatigue and soreness) and performance measures (maximal voluntary isometric contraction [MVC] of the knee extensors, weighted and unweighted countermovement jumps) before and immediately after the training session. Subjects then completed 1 of three 14-min recovery strategies (CWI, CWT, or passive sitting [CON]), with the perceptual and performance measures reassessed immediately, 2 h, and 4 h postrecovery.

Results:

Peak torque during MVC and jump performance were significantly decreased (P < .05) after the resistance-training session and remained depressed for at least 4 h postrecovery in all conditions. Neither CWI nor CWT had any effect on perceptual or performance measures over the 4-h recovery period.

Conclusions:

CWI and CWT did not improve short-term (<4-h) recovery after a conventional resistance-training session.

Argus is with the Research Inst for Sport and Exercise, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia. Broatch, Petersen, Polman, and Bishop are with the Inst of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Halson is with the Australian Inst of Sport, Canberra, Australia.

Argus (Argy15@hotmail.com) is corresponding author.
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