Effects of Massage and Cold Water Immersion After an Exhaustive Run on Running Economy and Biomechanics: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Jan 1;36(1):149-155. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003395.


Duñabeitia, I, Arrieta, H, Rodriguez-Larrad, A, Gil, J, Esain, I, Gil, SM, Irazusta, J, and Bidaurrazaga-Letona, I. Effects of massage and cold water immersion after an exhaustive run on running economy and biomechanics: A randomized controlled trial. J Strength Cond Res 36(1): 149-155, 2022-This study compares the effects of 2 common recovery interventions performed shortly after an exhausting interval running session on running economy (RE) and biomechanics. Forty-eight well-trained male runners performed an exhaustive interval running protocol and an incremental treadmill test 24 hours later at 3 speeds: 12, 14, and 16 km·h-1. Subjects randomly received either massage, cold water immersion (CWI), or passive rest (control). Runners repeated the treadmill test 48 hours after the first test. A two-way mixed analysis of variance was performed comparing groups and testing times. The massage group had significantly better recovery than the control group at 14 km·h-1 in RE (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.176) and greater stride height and angle changes at 16 km·h-1 (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.166 and p < 0.05; η2 = 0.208, respectively). No differences were observed between the CWI and control groups. The massage group had greater stride height and angle changes at 16 km·h-1 than the CWI group (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.139 and p < 0.05; η2 = 0.168, respectively). Moreover, differences in magnitude suggested moderate effects on RE (η2 = 0.076) and swing time (η2 = 0.110). These results suggest that massage intervention promotes faster recovery of RE and running biomechanics than CWI or passive rest.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03578666.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cold Temperature
  • Humans
  • Immersion*
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Running*
  • Water


  • Water

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03578666