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Abstract

The purpose of this pilot exploratory study was to determine any immediate effects of a session of aquatic exercise (AE) compared to contrast therapy shallow water treadmill running (CSWR). Twenty-nine elite footballers were allocated randomly to AE or CSWR, 48 hours after a practice match. Outcome measures included maximum vertical jump height; visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain; the squeeze test for adductor strength, sit and reach test, plus ankle and hip range of movement. A significant difference between groups was found for maximum vertical jump height with the AE group being able to jump higher after the intervention (95% CI [-8.63 to -1.28]). No other significant differences between groups were detected for any outcome. Significant within group effects were found for the CSWR group in improving sit and reach (p = 0.04), and reducing pain when performing the squeeze test (p = 0.02). Both interventions may have improved aspects of performance; however, more highly powered trials, incorporating a control group, need to be conducted.

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