Physiological responses to different recovery modalities after high-intensity-exercise and its effect on performance



Many elite-sports are characterized by one or more training sessions per day, with several competitions per week. Thus, any means to enhance recovery from strenuous high-intensity exercise may play an important role for success. Several strategies to enhance recovery are currently in use, especially those involving thermoregulatory or hydrostatic stimuli, even though the evidence of their effects on recovery of (sports specific-) performance is rather weak. Therefore, the aim of this research project was to analyze the physiological reactions and effects on performance of two frequently used recovery strategies, i.e. whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) and aqua exercise compared to passive recovery (CON), respectively.


To induce fatigue different high-intensity-exercises were used, either 300 counter-movement-jumps or 5x5 min of High-intensity-running (HIT) followed either by aqua cycling (AC) or WBC, respectively. Recovery involved either 30min of low intensity cycling in a pool (AC) or 3 min of exposure to very cold air (-110°C, WBC). Performance tests and analysis of physiological and hormonal parameters were carried out at different time points before and after exercise and recovery.

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The major findings of this project were that a single 30 min session of aqua cycling after 300 CMJ did not affect the recovery of muscular performance, the increase in markers of muscle damage, muscle soreness or the PEPS compared to passive rest. However, exposure to very cold air (3min at -110°C) between two bouts of high-intensity exercise improves performance (tlim) in thermo-neutral ambient conditions by a higher oxygenation of the working muscles as well as lower heart rate, oxygen consumption and RPE values at sub-maximal intensities and alterations in the athletes’ perceived physical state. Performance improvements might be induced by enhanced blood and oxygen supply to the working muscles as well as a reduction in cardiovascular strain and increased work economy at sub-maximal intensities.
Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende01.04.1331.08.15


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