Did you know, Rafael Nadal takes a freezing cold shower 45 minutes before he steps onto the court? And Andy Murray takes eight-minute, post-match ice baths? We’re all rooting for him at Wimbledon this summer! Each sports star has their own tried and tested preparation and recovery techniques, but here’s how you can bring a bit of the elite into your own routine.
Bathe in Ice
There’s a reason it doesn’t sound pleasant, and that’s because it’s not. It involves standing or lying in cool water (10-15 degrees kind of cool) for around 15 minutes.
Ice Bath Benefits
Ice baths can jumpstart your recovery process after an intense bout of sport. The exercise is said to constrict blood vessels, flush out waste products (like lactic acid), and reduce swelling and tissue breakdown. Combined, this aids muscle healing and soothes inflammation.
DIY Ice Baths
Now we know not everyone has an ice bath at their disposal, but that doesn’t have to stop you getting in on the action.
While some people say you should fill your bath with pure ice, the practicalists recommend a 3:1 (water:ice) ratio.
And there you have it, your very own ice bath. All that’s left to do is grin and bear the experience for as close to 15 minutes as you can - or eight if you’re Andy Murray.
Soak in Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is a mineral that’s extracted from seawater, and it’s been around for hundreds of years. There are a number of benefits to bathing in Epsom salt, like:
- Alleviating muscle pain;
- Reduce swelling;
- Relieving stress;
- Improving circulation; and
- Preventing joint and muscle inflammation.
Because the salt’s absorbed through the skin, it provides almost instant relief and is an ideal quick-fix recovery method after an intense bout of exercise.
Epsom salt contains magnesium. Magnesium plays a part in muscle regeneration reactions. Muscle regeneration reactions are essential for post-training recovery. So, it’s perhaps no surprise so many top athletes turn to the little grains of goodness in the tub.
When you get home after a tough session it’s natural (for most people) to jump into a nice warm shower to wash away the sweat. And there are benefits to hot showers. The warm water encourages blood flow to your skin, soothes tired, achy muscles, and helps your mind and body to relax.
But, flipping the faucet to cold could actually help you recover quicker. The cool temperatures:
- Lower the temperature of any damaged tissue, constricting blood vessels;
- Prevent bruising and swelling caused by waste and fluid build-up;
- Numb your nerve endings, assisting with pain relief; and
- Bring your heart rate down and increase circulation.
Just think of your cold shower after a workout as a scaled-back ice bath - the benefits are similar across the board.
So, there you have it, three new bathing techniques to help take your training regime and recovery process to the next level. Need a few new bathroom bits to support your routine? Then browse our full range of products here.