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Improvement of muscle strength and performance by means of whole-body cryotherapy over 1, 2 and 3 minutes

Improvement of muscle strength and performance by means of whole-body cryotherapy over 1, 2 and 3 minutes

Authors: FRICKE R., GRAPOW G., KNAUER G.

Test persons who exercised with decreased skin temperature showed a significant higher training effect than controls (Schuh, 1991). During work under cool temperature conditions relatively more red muscle fibers are activated (Brück, 1987). A muscle at rest is activated when rubbed with ice. Whole-body cryotherapy of –110°C over a period of 1 to 3 minutes offers these conditions for activation of the musculature. Therefore, studies to examine the influence of cold on strength and performance of healthy musculature in the lower extremities were carried out.

METHOD:

30 test persons were divided in 3 test groups of 10 persons each. After a warm-up phase, the test groups were treated separately in a cold chamber at –110°C over a period of 3, 2 and 1 minute respectively. Directly prior to therapy, peak strength and performance at flexion rates of 120°/s and 60°/s were tested on the Cybex. Two minutes after cold chamber treatment the same values were examined for each relevant group.

DISCUSSION:

Whole-body cryotherapy at –110°C results in an increase of the peak strength and performance. The best results were obtained after an application time of 2 minutes.

Optimum speeds obtained were flexion 120°/s and extension 60°/s. The rather negative results for flexion 60°/s and extension 120°/s suggest an unfavorable speed for the relevant function. On the other hand, this may also indicate a different distribution and activation of muscle fibers in untrained persons.

The therapeutic effect of whole-body cold therapy may be explained in part by the cool body shell and increase of the aerobic capacity of the muscular metabolism which facilitates the actual aerobic execution of the work. In further studies the impact of cold chamber treatment is examined with reference to intervals between warm-up phase and tests after therapy.

RESULTS:

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REFERENCES:

Brück, K. (1987): Warmlaufen oder Kaltstart? Sportliche Höchstleistung durch Kälte Spieg.
Forsch 5. pp. 13-16.
Schuh, A. (1991) Ausdauertraining bei gleichzeitiger Kälteadaption. Phys. Rehab. Kur. Med. 1. pp. 22-28.

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