COLD-WATER IMMERSION DOES NOT ASSIST RECOVERY AFTER STRESSFUL INTERMITTENT SPRINTING
Leeder,J. D., van Someren, K. A., Bell, P. G., Spence, J. R., Jewell, A. P., Gaze, D., & Howatson, G. (2013). Effects of seated and standing cold water immersion on recovery from simulated intermittent sprint sport. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2912.
This study investigated: i) the efficacy of cold-water immersion in attenuating the deleterious effects of simulated field sports on markers of recovery and physiological stress, and ii) the effects of different hydrostatic pressures from seated and standing cold-water immersion. Well-trained games players (N = 24) completed the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test and were randomly assigned into one of three groups (Control; Seated cold-water immersion; Standing cold-water immersion). Maximal isometric voluntary contraction, counter-movement jump, creatine kinase, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, testosterone, cortisol, and muscle soreness (DOMS; Visual analogue scale) were measured before and up to 72 hours following the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test.
Maximal isometric voluntary contraction, counter-movement jump, creatine kinase, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 , cortisol, and muscle soreness all showed main effects for time following the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test. They indicated substantial physiological stress and muscle damage resulting from the exercise. A group x time interaction was found for muscle soreness, with post-hoc analysis indicating that the seated cold-water immersion group was no longer elevated above baseline at 48 hours, whereas the control and standing groups were still elevated. There was no main group or interaction effect for any other parameter measured.
Implication. Seated cold-water immersion had small effects of alleviating muscle soreness at 48 hours after stressful exercise. Neither seated nor standing cold-water immersion had any effect on other markers of recovery. These results question the efficacy of cold-water immersion as a recovery modality following intermittent sprint exercise. There is no additional benefit of increasing hydrostatic pressure (by standing rather than being seated) during cold-water immersion.
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