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Hot and Cold Water Recovery

Can hot and cold water therapy help you boost your recovery after training sessions?




After a training session (and we include your active recover time here which allows the body to cool down) and having taken in those valuable proteins and carbs, the next thing on your list would be washing off the sweat and changing into clean clothes. This is just very good house keeping. 

I first came across ice baths in 2003 when the idea was relatively new and we began trailing various methods and protocol during our training camps. Things got a bit more sophisticated by the 2004 Athens Olympic Games when some teams arrived with inflatable “stand up baths” that looked like giant boots. They were filled with ice and the athlete stood in them. 

Studies from about 201/13 have shown that cold water immersion can boost recovery, soothing away lactic acid that may otherwise stay in your muscles, help build muscle and recover faster. This type of protocol can also help minor injuries, keep the body mobile and prevent stiffness.


Shower or a bath

Using the shower-head you can target specific muscles, joints and tendons.  A cold bath is total emersion and possibly will save some time. Baths can be colder as it's difficult to get ice out of the shower head and you can multi task with a bath. You can refuel once you are in the tub whereas it is going to get messy trying to eat a peanut butter sandwich under the jets. 

Here you can be inventive. What an ice bath? Grab a wheel bin, top it up with ice and stand in it.






Showering/bathing after your training session has added benefits.

  • Washing after exercise with soapy water will wash away of the bugs and bacteria that sits on your skin. 
  • Body pores are opened during exercise to allow for natural cooling down. Washing afterwards will clear these pores of unwanted dead cells and stop “blackheads” and/or “whiteheads” from breeding. 
  • Studies have shown that a quick blast of cold water can you can give your immune system a quick boost, if done regularly.


Suggested protocol

Having completed your training session, run the shower at a lukewarm or moderately warm temperature. Too cold and your heart rate will rise again. Soap all over and rinse so that you begin the hot/cold alternation with a clean body. 

Turn the dial all the way down and target muscle groups with the shower head. 

Alternate between the lukewarm and coldest setting; about 30” lukewarm to 45-90” cold. Repeat 4-5 times. 

Timings and repartitions will vary from person to person so, like our athletes did in those early years, experiment with the settings until you feel sore-free.


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