CrossFit Games Competition and New Research.
There have been several new papers out on recovery from repeated sets of resistance exercise. These may be important for people headed to the CrossFit Games Regional Competitions. For those who don’t know, the CrossFit Games regional competitions last for several days and involve multiple WODs per day. (note: WOD stands for WorkOut of the Day and is the term used for CrossFit workouts.)The same is true for the big CrossFit Games. In CrossFit every “rep” counts. Recovery between WODs and recovery between days may determine who moves from regional competition to The CrossFit Games 2013. This is very different from the CrossFit Open Competition where CrossFit Games competitors may have up to a week before the next WOD.
Ice Between CrossFit WODs
Apply ice to stressed muscles between WODs when possible. A lot of people will apply ice if they have injured themselves during a competition. Or if they feel pain. Applying ice to uninjured muscles during rests may also let an athlete do more sets. A study published last May (2012) examined the effects of icing on trained rock climbers. Those who iced their arms and shoulders were able to more pull-ups on the second and third sets than those who rested without ice. Some things to note: The pull-ups were open hand, which is important to rock climbers. Closed hand holds are pretty uncommon on rock.
Should muscles be iced after the CrossFit Open WODs?
Maybe. If you find that you are still in pain three days after a WOD you may benefit from applying ice the next go around. Its uncertain how this works. It might work by slowing production of enzymes that are involved in producing molecules that cause pain and inflammation. The pain, tenderness and inflammation show up about 24 hours after an intense workout is known as delayed onset muscle soreness. Cold slows down enzyme rates and may slow the onset of pain. Or may reduce its intensity.
Bacon NT, Wingo JE, Richardson MT, Ryan GA, Pangallo TC, & Bishop PA (2012). Effect of two recovery methods on repeated closed-handed and open-handed weight-assisted pull-ups. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 26 (5), 1348-52 PMID: 22516908