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) / Deakin University / Griffith University / Edith Cowan University
Purpose: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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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