Menthol an Effective Way to Help with Muscle Recovery

A new study came out by Gillis et al, looking at the effects of menthol us on recovery. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2020/02000/Influence_of_Menthol_on_Recovery_From.21.aspx In this study they looked at the use of menthol, placebo gel, and a control group after an intensive sprint protocol of 40 15-m sprints with a 5-m deceleration phase. 10 mins after the sprint they put the gels on, followed by a 5-day protocol of coming into the lab doing a quick warm-up and applying the gels again.

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Each time the gel was applied and the subjects went through the testing procedures that included perception of muscle soreness, hamstring muscle length, hip abduction range of motion, vertical jump test, and agility t-test. I like how they included performance measurements in here to gauge recovery as the perception of soreness is not always the greatest indicator.

What they found was that the groups who used gels both found the perception of muscle soreness improved compared to the control. So the idea that putting gel on regardless if it has menthol in helped the subjects feel like they were recovering better. They found no improvements in range of motion and in the agility test. In the vertical jump test, they did find a significant improvement (p=0.043) in the menthol group compared to the placebo. This shows that there was an actual improvement in recovery and not just a placebo effect going on here.

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This can be very beneficial for strength athletes who are in their peaking phase of meet prep where recovery is key to ensuring high performance in training and on meet day. When it comes down to it we are looking for every little thing to give us the edge and there is no downside to this so why not add it to your arsenal to feel better and recover faster when you need it the most.

References

Gillis, D. J., Vellante, A., Gallo, J. A., & DʼAmico, A. P. (2018). Influence of menthol on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000002833

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