Muscle Cooling and Performance: A Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objectives: Skeletal muscle performance is determined by muscle temperature. This paper
presents a review of the research literature to contribute to a better understanding of the
physiological mechanisms of muscle fatigue and performance in cold exposure and in repetitive
or sustained physical exertion in terms of isometric maximal force production,
electromyographic activities, and gait ground reaction forces.
Materials and Methods: The PubMed and MEDLINE databases were searched for relevant
articles in English. The titles and abstracts of all identified studies were initially screened by
the first author to determine whether they could be included. Relevant articles were considered
for full text analysis. The reference lists of the relevant studies were also checked.
Results: The review showed that different cooling methods have been used in the research
settings. Current applications are reported of cold exposure to assess muscle strength through
maximum voluntary contraction and functional activities, manual work of the upper limbs,
gait and balance, fall risks, and mobility of the lower limbs. The review also showed that
neuromuscular functions are impaired at 0° to 25°C of cold water immersion for 10 to 40 min
where loss of strength and fatigue occurred in the limb muscles. Although some of the findings
in previous studies about isometric force production in cooled muscles and joints are
controversial, this review found that impeded strength is relatively well-established.
Conclusions: Cooling in cold water at certain temperatures can influence our maximum muscle
performance but may not impact daily activities.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Keywords

  • Gait ground reaction forces, Isometric muscle strength, Peripheral cooling, Electromyography, Fatigue
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
JournalEuropean Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes