European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 12, pp 2977–2986 | Cite as

Cold application for neuromuscular recovery following intense lower-body exercise

  • Monique PointonEmail author
  • Rob Duffield
  • Jack Cannon
  • Frank E. Marino
Original Article


This study examined the effects of cold therapy (COLD) on recovery of voluntary and evoked contractile properties following high-intensity, muscle-damaging and fatiguing exercise. Ten resistance-trained males performed 6 × 25 maximal concentric/eccentric muscle contractions of the dominant knee extensors (KE) followed by a 20-min recovery (COLD v control) in a randomized cross-over design. Voluntary and evoked neuromuscular properties of the right KE, ratings of perceived muscle soreness (MS) and pain, and blood markers for muscle damage were measured pre- and post-exercise, and immediately post-recovery, 2, 24 and 48-h post-recovery. Exercise resulted in decrements in voluntary and evoked torque, increased MS and elevated muscle damage markers (p < 0.05). Measures of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) or voluntary activation (VA) were not significantly enhanced by COLD (p > 0.05). Activation of right KE decreased post-exercise with increased activation of biceps femoris (BF) (p < 0.05). However, no significant differences were evident between conditions of activation of KE and hamstrings at any time point (p > 0.05). No significant differences were observed between conditions for creatine kinase or asparate aminotransferase (p > 0.05). However, perceptual ratings of pain were significantly (p < 0.05) lower following COLD compared to control. In conclusion, following damage to the contractile apparatus, COLD did not significantly hasten the recovery of peripheral contractile trauma. Despite no beneficial effect of COLD on recovery of MVC, perceptions of pain were reduced following COLD.


Muscle damage Neuromuscular Twitch interpolation Performance 



The authors would like to thank the subjects for their participation and enthusiasm. In addition, the authors would like to acknowledge all of the staff at Bathurst Pathology for their assistance with the blood analysis and Gary McKenzie at SPAN for his help with EMG analysis. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monique Pointon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rob Duffield
    • 1
  • Jack Cannon
    • 1
  • Frank E. Marino
    • 1
  1. 1.Exercise and Sports Science Laboratories, School of Human Movement StudiesCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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