The effects of varied cold water immersion protocols on recovery and repeated performance measures in male rugby players
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this investigation was to observe the effect two different length cold water immersion protocols had upon performance variables and recovery from exercise induced muscle damage. The study aimed to add information to help identify an optimal immersion protocol to facilitate the recovery process. Quantitative methods were utilised to attain data relative to the aim of the study. 11 university level rugby players were subjected to performance tests at baseline. Performance variables consisted of countermovement jump height and isometric strength measures of knee extensor, knee flexor and hip extensor muscle groups. Participants completed a high volume squat protocol producing muscular damage symptoms. Subjects were randomly assigned into one of three recovery groups. Group one received a single 15 minute cold water immersion, group two received five cyclical two minute immersions and the third group acted as a control group. Participants were re-tested at 24 and 48 hours post exercise. Statistical analysis of the data displayed that both cold water immersion protocols had no significant effect (P > 0.05) on any of the performance variables when compared to the control group. Concluding that cold water immersion protocols used in this study were ineffective at aiding recovery from exercise induced fatigue and restoring pre-exercise performance levels. Future research should focus on identifying an optimal cold water immersion protocol based on data collected from physiological, psychological and performance variables. This would comprehensively assess and justify the use of cold water immersion as an effective post-exercise recovery modality.
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