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Old 11-07-2008, 07:16 AM   #1
Matthew Green
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Default Ice Baths; Timing and Effectiveness

I understand the science behind ice baths and it's importance in recovery, my gray area was the time post-exercise for which they can be useful?

When at the gym I have to make do with a reasonably cold shower, but in my opinion it doesn't seem cold enough to cause significant vaso constriction. Post sandbag training etc I immediately fill a bath with cold water, throw in a couple of bags of ice, jump in and try to contain the girly shrills!!
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:03 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Immediately after from what I've experienced is the best time. However, within a couple hours does help as well.

Basically, (IMO) if you do it anytime before you sleep -- which is the most anabolic time your body undergoes -- limiting the inflammation with the cold shower/ice bath so the body can repair itself more efficiently will work.

I've never tried working out in the morning and taking a cold shower at night, but I assume it would help as well based on this line of thought.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:35 AM   #3
Gittit Shwartz
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Poliquin has something to say on the subject of cryotherapy in the second page of the notorious Crossfit article:
T-nation link (NOT WFS)

What do you think?
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:00 AM   #4
Matthew Green
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Correct me if i'm wrong but my understanding that Ice-Baths were to remove lactate from muscles post workout and reduce inflammation.........? And I don't remember anyone saying that it prevented DOMS when I learnt about cryotherapy............?! And I thought that elevation of cortisol is not always a bad thing, it depends on the extent to which levels rise, but I would like to see the research on this.

Cheers for the info Steven, you are a great help as always. I'm not working out in the mornings at the moment, but it's useful to know for future reference.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:12 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Removing lactate does absolutely nothing at all since it would be removed... and lactate does not contribute to either DOMS or acidosis anyway. So it's pointless.

Removing the inflammation is the only significant thing... which is due to the vasoconstriction of the muscles. I'm not sure if there are any other residual benefits there though -- may look it up a bit later.

Basically, the continuum of "damage" you get goes from regular exercise -> injury and exercise -> rhabdo. With injuries ICE definitely helps significantly.. and this is because it helps limit the swelling and inflammation. Now, to my knowledge I haven't see anything on the lines of it helping rhabdo, so in the context of the muscles themselves it may not help them at all (besides the limit inflammation = somewhat faster healing or limiting DOMS). This is probably something worth investigating.



As far as the Poliquin article.. there's tons of studies on the subject that BOTH ways. Basically, IMO it comes down to black boxing it. I've found it has helped me, so I am going to continue to do it.
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:49 AM   #6
Dave Lemanczyk
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Cold and warm water bathing is an excellent way to allow the body to heal itself without the downward force of gravity. Personally, I have found incredible results when I made the time to hit the cold/warm bath immediately post workout.
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