Can cold water immersion enhance recovery in elite Olympic weightlifters? An individualized perspective.

TitelCan cold water immersion enhance recovery in elite Olympic weightlifters? An individualized perspective.
MedientypJournal Article
Year of PublicationIn Press
AutorenSchimpchen J, Wagner M, Ferrauti A, Kellmann M, Pfeiffer M, Meyer T
JournalJ Strength Cond Res

We investigated whether cold water immersion following intensive training sessions can enhance recovery in elite Olympic weightlifters, taking into account each athlete's individual response pattern. The entire German male Olympic weightlifting national team participated in the study (n=7), ensuring collection of data from elite athletes only. Using a randomized cross-over design, the athletes went through two high intensity training microcycles consisting of five training sessions that were either followed by a cold water immersion or passive recovery. Barbell speed in a snatch pull movement, blood parameters as well as subjective ratings of general fatigue and recovery were assessed throughout the study. Physical performance at two snatch pull intensities (85% 1RM: -0.15% vs. -0.22%, P=0.94; 90% 1RM: -0.7% vs. +1.23%, P=0.25) did not differ significantly (condition x time). While questionnaires revealed a significant decline in ratings of overall recovery (P<0.001) and a significantly higher rating of overall stress (P=0.03) over time, no significant differences between conditions (P=0.14; P=0.98) could be revealed. Similarly, neither of the analyzed blood parameters changed significantly between conditions over time (CK: P=0.53; Urea: P=0.43; Cortisol: P=0.59; Testosterone: P=0.53; Testosterone:Cortisol ratio: P=0.69). In general, CWI did not prove to be an effective tool to enhance recovery in elite Olympic weightlifters over a three day intensive training period. However, even though the group was rather homogeneous with regard to performance, there were considerable inter-subject differences in their response to CWI. It appears that athletes are best advised on a case-by-case basis.

Alternate JournalJ Strength Cond Res
PubMed ID27537412
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