Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Dec;113(12):3059-67. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2737-1. Epub 2013 Oct 6.

Cycling time to failure is better maintained by cold than contrast or thermoneutral lower-body water immersion in normothermia.

Author information

Department of Physiology, Level 2, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, 152-160 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.



To examine the effects of four commonly used recovery treatments applied between two bouts of intense endurance cycling on the performance of the second bout in normothermia (~21 °C).


Nine trained men completed two submaximal exhaustive cycling bouts (Ex1 and Ex2: 5 min at ~50 % [Formula: see text] peak, followed by 5 min at ~60 % [Formula: see text] peak and then ~80 % [Formula: see text] peak to failure) separated by 30 min of (a) cold water immersion at 15 °C (C15), (b) contrast water therapy alternating 2.5 min at 8 °C and 2.5 min at 40 °C (CT), (c) thermoneutral water immersion at 34 °C (T34) and (d) cycling at ~40 % [Formula: see text] peak (AR).


Exercise performance, cardiovascular and metabolic responses during Ex1 were similar among all trials. However, time to failure (~80 % [Formula: see text] peak bout) during Ex2 was significantly (P < 0.05) longer in C15 (18.0 ± 1.6) than in CT (14.5 ± 1.5), T34 (12.4 ± 1.4) and AR (10.6 ± 1.0); and it was also longer (P < 0.05) in CT than AR. Core temperature and heart rate were significantly (P < 0.05) lower during the initial ~15 min of Ex2 during C15 compared with all other conditions but they reached similar levels at the end of Ex2.


A 30 min period of C15 was more beneficial in maintaining intense submaximal cycling performance than CT, T34 and AR; and CT was also more beneficial than T34 and AR. These effects were not mediated by the effect of water immersion per se, but by the continuous (C15) or intermittent (CT) temperature stimulus (cold) applied throughout the recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center