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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 8, pp 1901–1907 | Cite as

Cold-water immersion blunts and delays increases in circulating testosterone and cytokines post-resistance exercise

  • Jacob E. EarpEmail author
  • Disa L. Hatfield
  • Andrew Sherman
  • Elaine C. Lee
  • William J. Kraemer
Original Article

Abstract

Introduction

Cold-water immersion (CWI) is often used to promote recovery by reducing exercise-induced muscle damage, soreness, and inflammation. However, recent reports have cautioned that CWI may attenuate the adaptive response to resistance training.

Purpose

To determine the effect of post resistance-exercise CWI on circulating free testosterone (T) and cytokine (IL-6 and TNF-α) response.

Methods

Using a randomized and counterbalanced repeated-measures design, 11 resistance-trained men completed two workouts (6 sets of 10 repetitions of back squats at 80% of maximum load) a week apart after which they took part in either 15 min of CWI (15 °C) or passive recovery. T, IL-6, and TNFα were measured in blood samples taken before (PRE) and 5 (5POST), 15 (15POST), 30 (30POST), and 60 (60POST) min post-exercise and compared between treatments and over time.

Results

For T, a significant interaction effect of condition over time (p = 0.030) as well as greater relative concentrations of T in CON (Δ9.2%) than CWI (Δ-0.5%, p = 0.049) at 30POST were observed. In addition, at 60POST, T dropped below PRE values in CWI (Δ-10.4%, p = 0.028) but not in CON (Δ-1.6%, p = 0.850). A suppressed cytokine response was observed after CWI in IL-6 at 30POST (CWI: Δ4.9%, CON: Δ47.5%, p = 0.041) and TNFα at 15POST (CWI: Δ5.3%, CON: Δ17.0%, p = 0.022).

Conclusions

CWI blunted the T and cytokine response after a bout of resistance exercise. These results indicate that CWI results in an altered anabolic response and may help to explain the previous observation of attenuated hypertrophy when CWI is used after resistance exercise.

Keywords

Cryotherapy Inflammation Hypertrophy Anabolic Recovery Ice 

Abbreviations

1RM

Back squat one repetition maximum

BM

Body mass

CON

Passive control condition

CWI

Cold-water immersion condition

IL-6

Interleukin-6

POST

Post-exercise time point (5, 15, 30 or 60 min)

PRE

Pre-exercise time point

T

Free testosterone

TNFα

Tumor necrotic growth-factor alpha

Notes

Acknowledgements

Partial financial support for this study was provided by an Enhancement of Graduate Research Award from the University of Rhode Island.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob E. Earp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Disa L. Hatfield
    • 1
  • Andrew Sherman
    • 1
  • Elaine C. Lee
    • 2
  • William J. Kraemer
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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