JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Cold application for neuromuscular recovery following intense lower-body exercise

Monique Pointon, Rob Duffield, Jack Cannon, Frank E Marino
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2011, 111 (12): 2977-86
21445604
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.

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