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Anne Hecksteden, Werner Pitsch, Ross Julian, Mark Pfeiffer, Michael Kellmann, Alexander Ferrauti and Tim Meyer


Assessment of muscle recovery is essential for the daily fine-tuning of training load in competitive sports, but individual differences may limit the diagnostic accuracy of group-based reference ranges. This article reports an attempt to develop individualized reference ranges using a Bayesian approach comparable to that developed for the Athlete Biological Passport.


Urea and creatine kinase (CK) were selected as indicators of muscle recovery. For each parameter, prior distributions and repeated-measures SDs were characterized based on data of 883 squad athletes (1758 data points, 1–8 per athlete, years 2013–2015). Equations for the individualization procedure were adapted from previous material to allow for discrimination of 2 physiological states (recovered vs nonrecovered). Evaluation of classificatory performance was carried out using data from 5 consecutive weekly microcycles in 14 elite junior swimmers and triathletes. Blood samples were collected every Monday (recovered) and Friday according to the repetitive weekly training schedule over 5 wk. On the group level, changes in muscle recovery could be confirmed by significant differences in urea and CK and validated questionnaires. Group-based reference ranges were derived from that same data set to avoid overestimating the potential benefit of individualization.


For CK, error rates were significantly lower with individualized classification (P vs group-based: test-pass error rate P = .008; test-fail error rate P < .001). For urea, numerical improvements in error rates failed to reach significance.


Individualized reference ranges seem to be a promising tool to improve accuracy of monitoring muscle recovery. Investigating application to a larger panel of indicators is warranted.

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Wigand Poppendieck, Melissa Wegmann, Anne Hecksteden, Alexander Darup, Jan Schimpchen, Sabrina Skorski, Alexander Ferrauti, Michael Kellmann, Mark Pfeiffer and Tim Meyer

Purpose: Cold-water immersion is increasingly used by athletes to support performance recovery. Recently, however, indications have emerged suggesting that the regular use of cold-water immersion might be detrimental to strength training adaptation. Methods: In a randomized crossover design, 11 participants performed two 8-week training periods including 3 leg training sessions per week, separated by an 8-week “wash out” period. After each session, participants performed 10 minutes of either whole-body cold-water immersion (cooling) or passive sitting (control). Leg press 1-repetition maximum and countermovement jump performance were determined before (pre), after (post) and 3 weeks after (follow-up) both training periods. Before and after training periods, leg circumference and muscle thickness (vastus medialis) were measured. Results: No significant effects were found for strength or jump performance. Comparing training adaptations (pre vs post), small and negligible negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.42 to 1.26) and countermovement jump (g = 0.02; 95% CI, −0.82 to 0.86). Comparing pre versus follow-up, moderate negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.71; 95% CI, −0.30 to 1.72) and countermovement jump (g = 0.64; 95% CI, −0.36 to 1.64). A significant condition × time effect (P = .01, F = 10.00) and a large negative effect of cooling (g = 1.20; 95% CI, −0.65 to 1.20) were observed for muscle thickness. Conclusions: The present investigation suggests small negative effects of regular cooling on strength training adaptations.

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Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter and Jürgen Beckmann

The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.