Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 235 - 241

Research article
The Effects of Multiple Cold Water Immersions on Indices of Muscle Damage
Stuart Goodall1, , Glyn Howatson2
Author Information
1 Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, School of Sport & Education, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK
2 School of Human Sciences, St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK

Stuart Goodall
✉ Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, School of Sport & Education, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, UK
Publish Date
Received: 22-11-2007
Accepted: 27-03-2008
Published (online): 01-06-2008
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The aim of this investigation was to elucidate the efficacy of repeated cold water immersions (CWI) in the recovery of exercise induced muscle damage. A randomised group consisting of eighteen males, mean ± s age, height and body mass were 24 ± 5 years, 1.82 ± 0.06 m and 85.7 ± 16.6 kg respectively, completed a bout of 100 drop jumps. Following the bout of damaging exercise, participants were randomly but equally assigned to either a 12 min CWI (15 ± 1 °C; n = 9) group who experienced immersions immediately post-exercise and every 24 h thereafter for the following 3 days, or a control group (no treatment; n = 9). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the knee extensors, creatine kinase activity (CK), muscle soreness (DOMS), range of motion (ROM) and limb girth were measured pre-exercise and then for the following 96 h at 24 h increments. In addition MVC was also recorded immediately post-exercise. Significant time effects were seen for MVC, CK, DOMS and limb girth (p < 0.05) indicating muscle damage was evident, however there was no group effect or interaction observed showing that CWI did not attenuate any of the dependent variables (p > 0.05). These results suggest that repeated CWI do not enhance recovery from a bout of damaging eccentric contractions.

Key words: Eccentric exercise, treatment, cryotherapy.

           Key Points
  • Cryotherapy, particularly cold water immersions are one of the most common interventions used in order to enhance recovery post-exercise.
  • There is little empirical evidence demonstrating benefits from cold water immersions. Research evidence is equivocal, probably due to methodological inconsistencies.
  • Our results show that the cryotherapy administered did not attenuate any markers of EIMD or enhance the recovery of function.
  • We conclude that repeated cold water immersions are ineffective in the recovery from heavy plyometric exercise and suggest athletes and coaches should use caution before using this intervention as a recovery strategy
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