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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Dec;51(4):609-15.

Effects of cold-water immersion and contrast-water therapy after training in young soccer players.

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University of Milan, Milan, Italy.



Recent studies have investigated the importance of recovery strategies after training session, including hydrotherapy and cryotherapy. However, only a few studies have focused on cold-water immersion (CWI) treatments in team sport disciplines. The present study investigates the effects of CWI and contrast-water therapy (CWT) on the performance of young male soccer players during a week of training.


Eighteen young soccer players participated in the present study (age 15.5±1.0 years, weight 61.8±3.0 Kg, height 175.5±4.0 cm and training experience 8.1±1.0 years). They were involved in a four-day study with recovery using CWI or with CWT after each training session by using performance tests and small-sided games. We measured uric acid concentration, leukocytes, haemoglobin, reticulocytes and creatine kinase changes in the blood, axillary temperature, rating of perceived exertion after a training session, heart rate during exercise, performance tests (counter movement jump, repeated sprint ability and 5' shuttle run).


No significant difference were reported between groups when different physiological tests were used; CWI and CWT did not negatively influence the performances of the athletes. The principal effect of CWI was a reduced perception of fatigue after the training session. The use of active recovery protocols based on cold water or cold/thermoneutral water did not induce modifications of inflammatory and haematological markers in young soccer players.


The beneficial effect of a reduced perception of fatigue can improve training and competitions in young soccer players.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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