European Journal of Applied Physiology
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Human Performance
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) High Performance Sport Research Funds (HPSRF)
Edith Cowan University
Following resistance exercise, uncertainty exists as to whether the regular application of cold water immersion attenuates lean muscle mass increases in athletes. The effects of repeated post-resistance exercise cold versus hot water immersion on body composition and neuromuscular jump performance responses in athletes were investigated.
Male, academy Super Rugby players (n = 18, 19.9 ± 1.5 y, 1.85 ± 0.06 m, 98.3 ± 10.7 kg) participated in a 12-week (4-week × 3-intervention, i.e., control [CON], cold [CWI] or hot [HWI] water immersion) resistance exercise programme, utilising a randomised cross-over pre–post-design. Body composition measures were collected using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry prior to commencement and every fourth week thereafter. Neuromuscular squat (SJ) and counter-movement jump (CMJ) performance were measured weekly. Linear mixed-effects models were used to analyse main (treatment, time) and interaction effects.
There were no changes in lean (p = 0.960) nor fat mass (p = 0.801) between interventions. CON (p = 0.004) and CWI (p = 0.003) increased (g = 0.08–0.19) SJ height, compared to HWI. There were no changes in CMJ height (p = 0.482) between interventions.
Repeated post-resistance exercise whole-body CWI or HWI does not attenuate (nor promote) increases in lean muscle mass in athletes. Post-resistance exercise CON or CWI results in trivial increases in SJ height, compared to HWI. During an in-season competition phase, our data support the continued use of post-resistance exercise whole-body CWI by athletes as a recovery strategy which does not attenuate body composition increases in lean muscle mass, while promoting trivial increases in neuromuscular concentric-only squat jump performance.
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