Int J Sports Med 2020; 41(02): 98-105
DOI: 10.1055/a-1044-2397
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Skeletal Muscle Microvascular Adaptations Following Regular Cold Water Immersion

Mohammed Ihsan
1   Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
3   Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia
Greig Watson
2   School of Human Life Sciences, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia
Hui Cheng Choo
3   Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia
Andrew Govus
4   Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
Scott Cocking
5   Department of Sports Science, ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar
Jamie Stanley
6   Department of Sport Science, South Australian Sports Institute, Brooklyn Park, Australia
Chris Richard Abbiss
3   Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted 18 October 2019

Publication Date:
16 December 2019 (online)


This study investigated the effect of endurance training and regular post-exercise cold water immersion on changes in microvascular function. Nine males performed 3 sessions∙wk-1 of endurance training for 4 weeks. Following each session, participants immersed one leg in a cold water bath (10°C; COLD) for 15 min while the contra-lateral leg served as control (CON). Before and after training, microvascular function of the gastrocnemius was assessed using near-infrared spectroscopy, where 5 min of popliteal artery occlusion was applied and monitored for 3 min upon cuff release. Changes in Hbdiff (oxyhemoglobin – deoxyhemoglobin) amplitude (O-AMP), area under curve (O-AUC) and estimated muscle oxygen consumption (mVO2) were determined during occlusion, while the reperfusion rate (R-RATE), reperfusion amplitude (R-AMP) and hyperemic response (HYP) were determined following cuff release. Training increased O-AMP (p=0.010), O-AUC (p=0.011), mVO2 (p=0.013), R-AMP (p=0.004) and HYP (p=0.057). Significant time (p=0.024) and condition (p=0.026) effects were observed for R-RATE, where the increase in COLD was greater compared with CON (p=0.026). In conclusion, R-RATE following training was significantly higher in COLD compared with CON, providing some evidence for enhanced microvascular adaptations following regular cold water immersion.

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