How To Tuesdays: Ice Baths for Improved Recovery

Last week we roughly touched ice baths in our post on How to Recover Faster. This week we thought we would take you through the process. Ice baths have been used for years by athletes who are looking at improving their recovery time; ice baths are said to reduce swelling, reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), flush out waste products and bring in fresh blood to recovering muscles once the body begins to warm up. After a long distance endurance event there is nothing more refreshing than quick 10 – 15 min in the bath to get all your icing done in one go and relax. Here’s how we do it…

Ice Bath

  1. Add roughly 9 kg of ice (3 x 3 kg bags of ice) into the bath, break up the ice cubes by gently knocking the bags together to help the water to cool faster.
  2. Add cold water to the bath so that it will just be able to cover the top of your quads.
  3. Set a timer on your phone for 10-15 min, the first time you do this it may only be able to handle a few minutes but as your body gets used to the process you will be able to withstand the cold water for longer.
  4. Gently lower yourself into the water, it may take your breath away but stay calm…its going to get better!
  5. Keep your toes out the water as they are going to get the coldest the fastest, I like to keep my toes busy/moving; it keeps them warm and it keeps your mind off the cold.
  6. Move the water every few minutes, you will start to feel warmer pockets of water forming around the top of your legs.
  7. After the timer has gone off don’t jump out to warm up as fast as possible; gently lift yourself out of the water and sit on the side for a few minutes before walking, allowing blood to return to your legs.
  8. Sit on the couch or on the bed while your body warms naturally.
  9. Follow this with a post work out recover drink.

Let us know if you have any tips or tricks that you use when taking your ice baths…we would love to hear from you!