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The Efficacy of Repeated Cold Water Immersion on Recovery Following a Simulated Rugby Union Protocol

Barber, Sean1; John, Pattison1; Brown, Freddy1; Hill, Jessica1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 06, 2017 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002239
Original Research: PDF Only

Training and athletic competition frequently results in exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD). The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of repeated cold water immersion (CWI) on recovery following a simulated rugby union match. Sixteen male, club level rugby players were matched for body mass and randomly assigned to either a CWI group or control (CON) group. Following the simulated rugby match the CWI group underwent 2 x 5 min immersions at a temperature of 10°C separated by 2.5 min seated at room temperature, whilst the CON group remained seated for 15 min. Creatine kinase (CK), perceived muscle soreness, counter movement jump (CMJ) and maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the knee extensors were measured pre-exercise, post-exercise, 24 h and 48 h following exercise. Large effect sizes were observed for muscle soreness at 24 and 48 h post exercise with lower soreness values observed in the CWI group. Large effect sizes were observed for CMJ at all time points and at 24 and 48 h post for MVIC with improved recovery of muscle function observed in the CWI group compared to the CON group. Lastly a moderate effect size was observed for CK immediately post exercise followed by large effect sizes at 24 and 48h post exercise, with CK concentration blunted in the CWI group. Overall these findings provide some support for the use of CWI to enhance recovery from EIMD following a simulated rugby union match.

1School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK.

Corresponding author: Jessica Hill, School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, TW1 4SX UK. Tel: +00 44 0 208 240 4000, Fax: +00 44 0 208 240 4212, Email jessica.hill@stmarys.ac.uk.

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