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This study investigated the effect of whole-body cryostimulation (WBC), contrast-water therapy (CWT), active recovery (ACT), and passive condition (PAS) protocols on the parasympathetic reactivation and metabolic parameters of recovery in elite synchronized swimmers who performed 2 simulated competition ballets (B1 and B2) separated by 70 min. After determining maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2max400)) and blood lactate concentrations ([La(-)](b400)) during a 400-m swim trial, 11 swimmers performed 1 protocol per week in randomized order. Heart rate variability (HRV) was measured at rest (PreB1), 5 min after B1 (PostB1), before B2 (PreB2), and 5 min after B2 (PostB2). VO(2peak) was measured at PostB1 and PostB2, and [La(-)](b) was measured at PostB1, PreB2, and PostB2. PostB1 VO(2peak) and VO(2max400) were similar, but PostB1 [La(-)](b) was higher than [La(-)](b400) (p = 0.004). Each ballet caused significant decreases in HRV indices. At PreB2, all HRV indices had returned to PreB1 levels in the CWT, PAS, and ACT protocols, whereas the WBC protocol yielded a 2- to 4-fold increase in vagal-related HRV indices, compared with PreB1. WBC and ACT both increased [La(-)](b) recovery, compared with PAS (p = 0.06 and p = 0.04, respectively), and yielded an increased VO(2peak) from B1 to B2; however, it decreased after PAS (+5.4%, +3.4%, and -3.6%; p < 0.01). This study describes the physiological response to repeated maximal work bouts that are highly specific to elite synchronized swimming. In the context of short-term recovery, WBC yields a strong parasympathetic reactivation, and shows similar effectiveness to ACT on the metabolic parameters of recovery and subsequent exercise capacity.

Schaal, K, Le Meur, Y, Bieuzen, F, Petit, O, Hellard, P, Toussaint, JF and Hausswirth, C. (2013) “Effect of recovery mode on postexercise vagal reactivation in elite synchronized swimmers”. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 38 (2) 126-33.

Full Article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23438222