The influence of cold water immersions on adaptation following a single bout of damaging exercise

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-008-0941-1

Cite this article as:
Howatson, G., Goodall, S. & van Someren, K.A. Eur J Appl Physiol (2009) 105: 615. doi:10.1007/s00421-008-0941-1


The aim of this investigation was to elucidate the effects of cold water immersions (CWIs) following damaging exercise on the repeated bout effect (RBE). Sixteen males performed two bouts of drop jump exercise separated by 14–21 days. Participants were equally, but randomly assigned to either a CWI (12-min CWI at 15°C) or control group (12-min seated rest). Treatments were given immediately after the first exercise bout, 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. No interventions were given following the second bout. Maximum voluntary contraction (MIVC), soreness (DOMS), creatine kinase (CK), thigh girth and range of motion (ROM) were recorded before and for 96 h following the initial and repeated bouts of damaging exercise. All variables, except ROM, showed a significant time effect (P < 0.01) indicating the presence of muscle damage following the initial bout; there were no differences between the CWI and control groups after the initial bout. Following the repeated bout of exercise there was a significant attenuation in the reduction of MIVC (P = 0.002) and a reduction in DOMS (P < 0.001), which is indicative of the RBE. There were no significant differences between groups following the repeated bout of damaging exercise. These data show that CWI had no effect following damaging exercise and did not inhibit the RBE. Despite CWI being used routinely, its efficacy remains unclear and there is a need to elucidate the benefits of this intervention on recovery and adaptation to provide practitioners with evidence based practice.


Exercise-induced muscle damage Treatment Repeated bout effect (RBE) Cryotherapy 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glyn Howatson
    • 1
  • S. Goodall
    • 2
  • K. A. van Someren
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Human SciencesSt Mary’s University CollegeTwickenhamUK
  2. 2.School of Sport and EducationBrunel UniversityUxbridgeUK
  3. 3.English Institute of SportSt Mary’s University CollegeTwickenhamUK

Personalised recommendations