Main content area

Physiological responses to partial-body cryotherapy performed during a concurrent strength and endurance session

Piras, Alessandro, Campa, Francesco, Toselli, Stefania, Di Michele, Rocco, Raffi, Milena
Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism 2019 v.44 no.1 pp. 59-65
athletes, bioelectrical impedance, blood, body mass index, body water, cryosurgery, energy costs, heart rate, lactic acid, oxygen, physiological response, strength training, temperature
This investigation examined the effect of partial-body cryostimulation (PBC) performed in the recovery time between a strength training and an interval running (IR) session. Nine rugby players (age, 23.7 ± 3.6 years; body mass index, 28.0 ± 2.6 kg·m⁻²) were randomly exposed to 2 different conditions: (i) PBC: 3 min at −160 °C, and (ii) passive recovery at 21 °C. We performed the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and recorded temperature and cardiac autonomic variables at 3 time points: at baseline, after strength training, and after 90 min of recovery. In addition, blood lactate concentration was measured 1 min before and 2.5 min after the IR. Heart rate (HR), energy cost, minute ventilation, oxygen uptake, and metabolic power were assessed during the IR. Homeostatic hydration status was affected by the execution of an intense strength training subsession. Then, after PBC, the BIA vector was restored close to normohydration status. Autonomic variables changed over time in both conditions, although the mean differences and effect sizes were greater in the PBC condition. During IR, HR was 3.5% lower after PBC, and the same result was observed for oxygen uptake (∼4.9% lower) and ventilation (∼6.5% lower). The energy cost measured after cryotherapy was ∼9.0% lower than after passive recovery. Cryotherapy enhances recovery after a single strength training session, and during subsequent IR, it shows a reduction in cardiorespiratory and metabolic parameters. PBC may be useful for those athletes who compete or train more than once in the same day, to improve recovery between successive training sessions or competitions.