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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Oct;25(5):e524-30. doi: 10.1111/sms.12353. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

One session of partial-body cryotherapy (-110 °C) improves muscle damage recovery.

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College of Physical Education, University of Brasília, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
Federal Institute of Triangulo Mineiro, Paracatu, MG, Brazil.
Physical Therapy Division, University of Brasília, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais, Divinopolis, MG, Brazil.
Graduate Program on Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.


To evaluate the effects of a single session of partial-body cryotherapy (PBC) on muscle recovery, 26 young men performed a muscle-damaging protocol that consisted of five sets of 20 drop jumps with 2-min rest intervals between sets. After the exercise, the PBC group (n = 13) was exposed to 3 min of PBC at -110 °C, and the control group (n = 13) was exposed to 3 min at 21 °C. Anterior thigh muscle thickness, isometric peak torque, and muscle soreness of knee extensors were measured pre, post, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h following exercise. Peak torque did not return to baseline in control group (P < 0.05), whereas the PBC group recovered peak torques 96 h post exercise (P > 0.05). Peak torque was also higher after PBC at 72 and 96 h compared with control group (P < 0.05). Muscle thickness increased after 24 h in the control group (P < 0.05) and was significantly higher compared with the PBC group at 24 and 96 h (P < 0.05). Muscle soreness returned to baseline for the PBC group at 72 h compared with 96 h for controls. These results indicate that PBC after strenuous exercise may enhance recovery from muscle damage.


Recovery modality; muscle soreness; muscle thickness; peak torque

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