Effectiveness of Recovery Strategies After Training and Competition in Endurance Athletes: An Umbrella Review

Shuting Li*, Matthias Kempe, Michel Brink, Koen Lemmink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Recovery strategies are used to enhance performance and reduce injury risk in athletes. In previous systematic reviews, individual recovery strategies were investigated to clarify their effectiveness for mixed groups of athletes. However, the current evidence is ambiguous, and a clear overview of (training) recovery for endurance athletes is still lacking. Methods: We conducted an umbrella review based on a literature search in PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Web of Science. Reviews published in English and before December 2022 were included. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were eligible if they investigated the effectiveness of one or more recovery strategies compared with a placebo or control group after a training session in endurance athletes. Results: Twenty-two reviews (nine systematic reviews, three meta-analyses, and ten systematic reviews with meta-analyses included) met the inclusion criteria. In total, sixty-three studies with 1100 endurance athletes were included in our umbrella review. Out of the sixty-three studies, eight provided information on training recovery time frame for data synthesis. Among them, cryotherapy and compression garments showed positive effects, while applying massage showed no effect. In general, none of the included recovery strategies showed consistent benefits for endurance athletes. Conclusion: There is no particular recovery strategy that can be advised to enhance recovery between training sessions or competitions in endurance athletes. However, individual studies suggest that compression garments and cryotherapy are effective training recovery strategies. Further research should improve methodology and focus on the different time courses of the recovery process. Registration : The review protocol was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews with the number CRD42021260509.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
Number of pages19
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2024


  • Fatigue
  • Performance
  • Prevention
  • Research synthesis
  • Training


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