Effect of Cold-Water Immersion on Handgrip Performance in Rock Climbers

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To determine the effect of 2 cold-water-immersion (CWI) temperatures (15°C and 8°C) on repeat handgrip performance to failure. Methods: A total of 32 participants completed 3 intermittent trials to failure on a climbing-specific handgrip dynamometer on 3 laboratory visits. For each visit, a different recovery strategy was employed: passive (PAS) recovery, CWI at 8°C (CW8), or CWI at 15°C (CW15). The force time integral (FTI: time of contraction multiplied by the force of contraction) was determined to assess handgrip performance. Results: There was no significant difference between recovery strategies at the end of trial 1. In response to the PAS recovery strategy, there were 10% and 22% decreases in FTI in the second and third trials, respectively. The PAS recovery-strategy FTI values were lower than both CWI strategies for trials 2 and 3 (P < .05). FTI increased in the second trial (↑32% and ↑38%; P < .05) for both immersion strategies (CW8 and CW15, respectively) compared with trial 1. During the third trial, FTI was significantly higher for CW15 than CW8 (↑27% and ↓4% with respect to baseline trial; P < .05). Conclusions: The results suggest that CWI has potential performance advantages over PAS recovery for rock climbing. The data show that in events where multiple recoveries are required, 15°C CWI may be more beneficial for climbers than 8°C CWI. Future research should focus on the optimization of protocols for sport performance.

Kodejška is with the Sport Research Center, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, and Baláš, the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Draper is with the School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Kodejška (jankodejska@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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