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Francisco Tavares, Martyn Beaven, Júlia Teles, Dane Baker, Phil Healey, Tiaki B. Smith and Matthew Driller

, it may decrease swelling and acute inflammation from muscle damage. 7 Furthermore, the use of cold-water immersion (CWI) contributes to a reduction in nerve conduction properties and to a decrease in muscle spasm and pain. 7 CWI in an acute rugby setting (<48-h postexercise) has been effective in

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Jessica M. Stephens, Ken Sharpe, Christopher Gore, Joanna Miller, Gary J. Slater, Nathan Versey, Jeremiah Peiffer, Rob Duffield, Geoffrey M. Minett, David Crampton, Alan Dunne, Christopher D. Askew and Shona L. Halson

Cold-water immersion (CWI) is a widely practiced recovery modality aiming to reduce fatigue and facilitate postexercise recovery. 1 It is thought that the combination of cold temperature and hydrostatic pressure promotes reductions in tissue temperatures and blood flow, facilitating subsequent

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Jan Kodejška, Jiří Baláš and Nick Draper

Cold water immersion (CWI) is included as a recovery protocol for many sports. 1 Positive effects of CWI have been observed after endurance exercise to failure such as for cycling, 2 running, 3 or rock climbing, 4 , 5 however, other research has not supported this finding. 1 Consequently

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Connor A. Burton and Christine A. Lauber

decreases, heart rate decreases, and stroke volume increases. 4 Interventions using various forms of cold mediums (e.g., cold water immersion [CWI], 5 – 12 cooling vests, 5 – 7 cold fluid ingestion, 5 – 7 and cool misting 6 , 7 ) have proven to reduce thermal strain and fatigue for endurance exercise in

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Jessica M. Stephens, Shona L. Halson, Joanna Miller, Gary J. Slater, Dale W. Chapman and Christopher D. Askew

Cold-water immersion (CWI) is a popular recovery strategy routinely used by athletes to hasten the body’s return to its preexercise state. 1 Recently, the popularity of CWI in practical settings has led to increased research. 2 Studies to date have focused predominantly on the recovery of

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Jesús Seco-Calvo, Juan Mielgo-Ayuso, César Calvo-Lobo and Alfredo Córdova

agonist/antagonist* 70.6 (4.7) 64.9 (2.6) 64.0 (2.1) 73.5 (0.0) <0.001 .841 Note: Statistically significant differences are marked in bold. Abbreviations: CON, control group; CWI, cold-water immersion group; EADIR, extension, adduction, and internal rotation; FABDER, flexion, abduction, and external

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Susan Y. Kwiecien, Malachy P. McHugh, Stuart Goodall, Kirsty M. Hicks, Angus M. Hunter and Glyn Howatson

Cold-water immersion (CWI) is a popular intervention utilized to facilitate recovery and improve function in the days following strenuous exercise. Two comprehensive reviews on CWI indicate some effectiveness at reducing soreness but inconclusive effects on other measures of recovery. 1 , 2 As

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Christina J. Lorete, Riley N. Fontaine, Lauren A. Welsch and Johanna M. Hoch

Clinical Question:

Is there evidence to suggest continuous cold water immersion (CWI) as a postexercise recovery intervention is more effective at reducing perceived muscle fatigue or soreness as measured using a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) when compared with passive rest in physically active adults?

Summary of Key Findings:

A systematic search of the literature produced 124 studies, with two randomized controlled trials and two cross-over studies meeting the inclusion criteria.

Clinical Bottom Line:

There is inconsistent, limited-quality evidence to support that the use of CWI postexercise is more effective at reducing perceived muscle fatigue or soreness in physically active adults when compared with passive rest. The results of the included studies were inconsistent regarding the application of continuous CWI for 10–14 min to reduce perceived muscle fatigue and soreness when compared with passive rest. The good-quality evidence found no difference between conditions and the three limited-quality studies identified differences between the conditions.

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Abd-Elbasset Abaïdia, Julien Lamblin, Barthélémy Delecroix, Cédric Leduc, Alan McCall, Mathieu Nédélec, Brian Dawson, Georges Baquet and Grégory Dupont

Purpose:

To compare the effects of cold-water immersion (CWI) and whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) on recovery kinetics after exercise-induced muscle damage.

Methods:

Ten physically active men performed single-leg hamstring eccentric exercise comprising 5 sets of 15 repetitions. Immediately postexercise, subjects were exposed in a randomized crossover design to CWI (10 min at 10°C) or WBC (3 min at –110°C) recovery. Creatine kinase concentrations, knee-flexor eccentric (60°/s) and posterior lower-limb isometric (60°) strength, single-leg and 2-leg countermovement jumps, muscle soreness, and perception of recovery were measured. The tests were performed before and immediately, 24, 48, and 72 h after exercise.

Results:

Results showed a very likely moderate effect in favor of CWI for single-leg (effect size [ES] = 0.63; 90% confidence interval [CI] = –0.13 to 1.38) and 2-leg countermovement jump (ES = 0.68; 90% CI = –0.08 to 1.43) 72 h after exercise. Soreness was moderately lower 48 h after exercise after CWI (ES = –0.68; 90% CI = –1.44 to 0.07). Perception of recovery was moderately enhanced 24 h after exercise for CWI (ES = –0.62; 90% CI = –1.38 to 0.13). Trivial and small effects of condition were found for the other outcomes.

Conclusions:

CWI was more effective than WBC in accelerating recovery kinetics for countermovement-jump performance at 72 h postexercise. CWI also demonstrated lower soreness and higher perceived recovery levels across 24–48 h postexercise.

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Jessica M. Stephens, Shona Halson, Joanna Miller, Gary J. Slater and Christopher D. Askew

The use of cold-water immersion (CWI) for postexercise recovery has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, but there is a dearth of strong scientific evidence to support the optimization of protocols for performance benefits. While the increase in practice and popularity of CWI has led to multiple studies and reviews in the area of water immersion, the research has predominantly focused on performance outcomes associated with postexercise CWI. Studies to date have generally shown positive results with enhanced recovery of performance. However, there are a small number of studies that have shown CWI to have either no effect or a detrimental effect on the recovery of performance. The rationale for such contradictory responses has received little attention but may be related to nuances associated with individuals that may need to be accounted for in optimizing prescription of protocols. To recommend optimal protocols to enhance athletic recovery, research must provide a greater understanding of the physiology underpinning performance change and the factors that may contribute to the varied responses currently observed. This review focuses specifically on why some of the current literature may show variability and disparity in the effectiveness of CWI for recovery of athletic performance by examining the body temperature and cardiovascular responses underpinning CWI and how they are related to performance benefits. This review also examines how individual characteristics (such as physique traits), differences in water-immersion protocol (depth, duration, temperature), and exercise type (endurance vs maximal) interact with these mechanisms.