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J Athl Train. 2000 Oct;35(4):422-6.

Interval cryotherapy decreases fatigue during repeated weight lifting.

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San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA.



To investigate the effect of icing the arm and shoulder between weight-pulling sets on work, velocity, and power.


I used a 1 x 2 factorial, random, counterbalanced design in which each participant pulled 75 per thousand of his 1-repetition maximum on 2 separate days. The individuals pulled the weight 22 times for each set as fast as possible, then either iced (cryotherapy) or placed towels over their arms and shoulders for 3 minutes, and then rested 4.5 minutes at room temperature. The sets continued until the participants could not complete 22 pulls without stopping.


Ten male members of a private athletic club, who weight lift on a regular basis, volunteered to participate in the study.


Work was determined by the number of arm-pull sets completed before fatigue, velocity was measured by the time to complete each set, and power was determined by dividing work by velocity. Velocity and power were analyzed in 3 ways: first to fourth sets (88 pulls), matched sets (167.2 pulls), and all sets (191.4 cryotherapy and 167.2 towel pulls), using analysis of covariance with the base set as the covariate.


Cryotherapy between sets resulted in a significantly greater number of total joules and arm pulls when compared with the towel treatment. Velocity was significantly faster for the first to fourth sets, matched sets, and all sets when subjects received intermittent cryotherapy. Power also was significantly higher for the first to fourth sets and matched sets. The all-sets comparison consisted of 14.5 per thousand more cryotherapy arm pulls.


Interval cryotherapy between weight-pulling sets is associated with increased work, velocity, and power.


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