The Effect of Contrast Water Therapy on Dehydration during Endurance Training Camps in Moderate-Altitude Environments

Sports (Basel). 2023 Nov 22;11(12):232. doi: 10.3390/sports11120232.


The effects of contrast water therapy (CWT) on dehydration at moderate altitudes during training camps remain unknown. We hypothesized that CWT reduces dehydration resulting from training at moderate altitudes and improves performance, akin to conditions at sea level. A 13-day endurance training camp was held at a moderate altitude of 1100 m and included 22 university athletes, who were divided into two groups (CWT group, n = 12; control (CON) group, n = 10). The sample size was calculated based on an α level of 0.05, power (1 β) of 0.8, and effect size of 0.25 based on two-way ANOVA. Longitudinal changes over 13 days were compared using a two-group comparison model. Additionally, 16 athletes participated in an additional performance verification analysis. Subjective fatigue, body mass, and water content (total body water (TBW), extracellular water (ECW), and intracellular water) were measured using bioimpedance analysis every morning, and the titin N-terminal fragment in urine (UTF) was measured as an index of muscle damage. For performance verification, 10 consecutive jump performances (with the reactive strength index (RSI) as an indicator) were evaluated as neuromuscular function indices. The results indicated that the UTF did not significantly differ between the two groups. Moreover, the ECW/TBW values, indicative of dehydration, on days 4 and 5 in the CWT group were significantly lower than those in the CON group. However, there was no significant difference in RSI between the two groups. Therefore, although CWT reduces dehydration in the early stages of the training camp, it may not affect performance.

Keywords: bioimpedance analysis; jump performance; titin N-terminal fragment.