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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2019 Sep 12. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00127.2019. [Epub ahead of print]

Cold water immersion attenuates anabolic signalling and skeletal muscle fiber hypertrophy, but not strength gain, following whole-body resistance training.

Author information

1
Centre for Sport Research (CSR), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Australia.
2
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Australia.
3
Institute of Sport Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Australia.
4
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States.
5
Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
6
Exercise, Muscle and Metabolism Unit, Deakin Univrsity, Australia.
7
School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Australia.
8
School of Behaviournal and Health Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
9
Institute for Health and Sport (iHeS), Victoria University, Australia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We determined the effects of CWI on long-term adaptations and post-exercise molecular responses in skeletal muscle before and after resistance training.

METHODS:

Sixteen males (22.9 ± 4.6 y; 85.1 ± 17.9 kg; mean ± SD) performed resistance training (3 d·wk-1) for 7 wk, with each session followed by either CWI (15 min at 10°C, COLD group, n = 8) or passive recovery (15 min at 23°C, CON group, n = 8). Exercise performance [one-repetition maximum (1-RM) leg press and bench press, countermovement jump, squat jump and ballistic push-up], body composition (dual x-ray absorptiometry), and post-exercise (i.e., +1 and +48 h) molecular responses were assessed before and after training.

RESULTS:

Improvements in 1-RM leg press were similar between groups [130 ±69 kg, pooled effect size (ES): 1.53; ±90% confidence interval (CI) 0.49], while increases in type II muscle fiber cross-sectional area were attenuated with CWI (-1959 µM2; ±1675; ES: -1.37; ±0.99). Post-exercise mTORC1 signalling (rps6 phosphorylation) was blunted for COLD at POST +1 h (-0.4-fold, ES: -0.69; ±0.86) and POST +48 h (-0.2-fold, ES: -1.33; ±0.82), while basal protein degradation markers (FOX-O1 protein content) were increased (1.3-fold, ES: 2.17; ±2.22). Training-induced increases in HSP27 protein content were attenuated for COLD (-0.8-fold, ES, -0.94 ±0.82), which also reduced total HSP72 protein content (-0.7-fold, ES: -0.79, ±0.57).

CONCLUSION:

CWI blunted resistance training-induced muscle fiber hypertrophy, but not maximal strength, potentially via reduced skeletal muscle protein anabolism and increased catabolism. Post-exercise CWI should therefore be avoided if muscle hypertrophy is desired.

KEYWORDS:

Cold water immersion; adaptation; anabolism; catabolism; resistance training

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