Influence of Menthol on Recovery From Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

Academic Article


  • Abstract Gillis, DJ, Vellante, A, Gallo, JA, and D'Amico, AP. Influence of menthol on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. J Strength Cond Res 34(2): 451–462, 2020—This study assessed the influence of menthol, a cold receptor agonist, on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Forty-seven healthy males were allocated to a Control (CON, n = 18), Placebo (P, n = 14), or 4.0% Menthol (M, n = 15) condition. Participants were familiarized with a testing battery (TB) including: perception of lower-body muscle soreness, hip flexion/abduction range of motion, vertical jump (VJ), and the agility T-test. Muscle damage was induced on day 1 using 40 × 15-m sprints with a 5-m deceleration zone. The TB immediately followed this and was repeated once-daily for 5 days. Over this time, participants in M and P applied gels to the lower body immediately after sprinting and twice-daily thereafter, whereas CON did nothing. Dependent variables were compared by condition using the Kruskal-Wallis test (α = 0.05), and mean differences with 90% confidence intervals were calculated with small, moderate, and large effects. A significant difference by condition (p < 0.05) in muscle soreness was found, and moderate to large effects were observed in the reduction of muscle soreness with P, compared with M or CON, indicating a placebo effect. A reduction in VJ height across all conditions was observed, with a significant effect (p < 0.05) by condition, and moderate to large effects (1–5 cm) were observed in its preservation with menthol, compared with P or CON. No other differences were observed. These findings raise the possibility that menthol influences recovery of lower-body power after EIMD, and this may have practical implications for menthol's use when recovery of muscle power is important.
  • Authors

  • Gillis, D Jason
  • Vellante, Aurora
  • Gallo, Joseph A
  • D'Amico, Anthony P
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2020
  • Has Subject Area

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 451
  • End Page

  • 462
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 2