T Nation

Ice Baths?


I got proper beaten up at training tonight, so without really thinking about it I took a really hot bath when I got home, to try and ease my sore muscles. I got to thinking though, aren't ice baths the thing to do nowadays? What is the benefit to doing this? I can tell you the last thing I wanted to do was get in a bloody ice bath when I got home.


is it something to do with muscles and joints etc, swell a little after a workout so an ice bath stops the swelling...theoretically decreasing recovery time, i wouldn't quote me on that.

Though also i think i was reading 'muscle&fitness' and they said something about not to take NSAIDS ( non-steroidal anti-inflammotries) post-workout as it could stop swelling which could then increase recovery time.
My 2 cents anyway.


Do not take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to deal with DOMS, they will in fact reduce you're gains. Any NSAID will do that. Just deal with the pain.

As for ice baths, recent studies are coming out AGAINST cryogenic recovery methods, saying they might actually do the opposite of what they are intended to do. Given, it's still hardcore, but beyond a placebo effect towards the positive, sounds like all it can do is hinder you.


i do them all the time bra just keep your junk covered up so you can stay in the ice longer. as soon as you get out of the bath get in the shower and make sure that its as hot as you can take it. going from one to the other is awesome for you body. i really believe that this is one of the best tools for recovery


That sounds fucking awful.

Respect to you if you can handle that mate, I already feel pretty close to death at the end of my training sessions as it is. So am I actually hampering my recovery with a hot bath do you think?


Hot baths are fine...IF you just have muscle soreness. BUT heat will encourage muscle inflammation...more so if you're bruised up and/or injured.

If you practice Muay Thai heavily..as I do...you will find that ice baths are beneficial along with a quick hot shower afterward. Its just personal preference...listen to your body.


a good technique that I used to use, when I lived in a country where the cold tap actually gave out cold water, was contrast showers.

Jump in the shower before the water even heats up so that you are taking a cold blast. Then when it heats up stay in the hot for a minute or so, then turn off the hot tap so you are in cold again for a minute. Alternate like this for the length of your shower ensuring that you start and finish on cold.

The cold water helps with the inflamation and the contrast with the hot gets the circulation going. These are two things that really aid with recovery.

You should be aiming for as hot and as cold as you can bear.


Contrast showers/baths are excellent.

Ice showers,I feel so much more so. They really are an intense way to really alleviate allot of aches and it does accelerate healing recovery ( for me)

competing in college I remember seeing some of the better facilities, had an huge ice maker in the locker room and large steel baths.
I was very jealous. If I opened a real gym I would do that in a second.

you can do it with contrast showers.
or if you have a separate bath and shower
you can move from one to the other.