Einfluss von Ganzkörperkälteapplikation (-110°C) und Kaltwasserimmersion nach hoch-intensiver Belastung auf ausgewählte Parameter der Regeneration

Publication: Book/ReportDissertations


Introduction: In Elite sport, the individual´s balance between exercise, fatigue and recovery is an important factor for success. Many individual and team sports are characterised by daily high-intensity training sessions and competition schedules that require repeated maximum performance within few days. Thus, many physiological and psychological recovery modalities are used to reduce fatigue and enhance recovery. A very popular method in recent years is the application of post-exercise Cold-water immersion (CWI) and Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), the exposure of the body to extremely cold air (-110°C) in temperature controlled units. However, there is a limited body of evidence regarding the methods efficacy and empirical data detailing the potential mechanisms by which the treatments could be effective is sparse. Moreover, there is a distinct lack of studies including elite athletes, as well as performance tests and outcome parameters that are specific for the participants’ respective sports. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to analyse the effects of post-exercise CWI and WBC on acute recovery of performance and various surrogates of fatigue (e.g. biomarkers of muscle damage and inflammation, psychological questionnaires, performance tests). The results should contribute to an evidence-based application of post-exercise cooling in the future.
Methods: In the studies of this thesis, multivariate approaches were used to analyse multiple parameters of the various aspects of fatigue and recovery. To access the impact of WBC after high-intensity exercise on short-term recovery of specific endurance performance, participants conducted 45 minutes of high-intensity running, followed by one hour of rest with 3 minutes of WBC at -110°C or passive recovery. Ramp test performance was measured along with physiological parameters, psychological questionnaires and biomarkers of muscle damage, inflammation and stress. Daily post-match CWI was applied during a 5-day international field-hockey tournament of the german under-18 national squad. The effect of CWI on match performance, wellbeing and biomarkers of muscle damage and metabolic stress was analysed.
Results: WBC enhanced recovery and improved subsequent endurance performance compared to control condition. Improvements might be induced by enhanced oxygen saturation of the working muscles, reduced cardio-vascular strain during submaximal exercises as well as reduced sensation of pain and higher readiness to strain. WBC did not attenuate exercise-induced changes in biomarker concentrations related to muscle damage, inflammation and stress. In comparison to control condition, CWI did not effect physical parameters of match performance, subjective ratings of wellbeing, fatigue and recovery as well as concentrations in biomarkers of muscular and metabolic load.
Discussion: The studies of this thesis provide information regarding the implementation of post-exercise cooling protocols in sport. WBC induced short-term enhancements of recovery and endurance-performance, which might be beneficial in sports with multiple training sessions or competitions per day (e.g. multiple starts). However, WBC did not reduce inflammatory and muscle damage biomarker concentrations, suggesting that a postulated physiological mechanism by which WBC is proposed to improve recovery, i.e. reductions in inflammation and muscle damage, may not be accurate. Furthermore, implementing daily post-exercise CWI during a field-hockey tournament appears to be superfluous, as neither physical, physiological and psychological parameters of performance, fatigue and recovery were effected. Nevertheless, post-exercise cooling induced no negative or recovery- attenuating effects. Therefore, athletes and coaches might use these recovery-methods if the individuals’ reaction is positive.
Original languageGerman
Place of PublicationKöln
PublisherDeutsche Sporthochschule Köln
Number of pages58
Publication statusPublished - 2019