Do ice baths really improve muscle recovery?

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Do ice baths really improve muscle recovery?


an ice bath
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Whether you are a great competitive athlete, an amateur sportsman or simply a connoisseur, surely you have already heard of the concept of the post workout ice bath. This practice is talked about above all for its rather surprising properties, in terms of recovery. This topic has been studied by several scientists. Each contributed their own stone to the construction by specifying the real benefits of immersion in cold water.

The beneficial effects of ice baths

If you tend to chain high-intensity workouts, don’t hesitate to go ice baths. They can help you reduce post-workout pain. Say goodbye to pains that last for days and days. Enjoy a good polar bath to give your muscles the right conditions for their efforts. Johanna Lanner, an expert in muscle physiology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that cooling reduces the transmission of nerve impulses and the level of pain perception; thus inducing constriction of blood vessels in muscle tissue. Therefore, ice baths help reduce acute inflammation caused by exercise.

Cooling also has benefits for the heart. In terms of cardiac activity, Exercise Physiology Expert Llion Roberts says immersion in cold water restores heart rate variability.

It should also be noted that ice baths improve the mood. According to studies by James Broatch, also an expert in physiology, participants conditioned to the ice bath and placebo increased their level of recovery. A recovery rate similar to a 48-hour post-workout recovery.

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Conditions to be respected

Diving in freezing cold water at 10 ° C for 5-10 minutes should generally be enough to improve muscle recovery and future athletic performance. It is very important to know when to practice cold water immersion or not. First, only take ice baths after endurance exercises. And secondly, it is best to avoid ice baths after strength training, such as bodybuilding for reference.

For further explanation on this topic, Llion Roberts states that after a strength exercise, immersion in cold water can hinder the interests of the exercise. While it is recommended after a resistance session to activate mitochondrial biogenesis, allowing the mitochondria to produce more energy.

In summary, the ice bath is a great way to recover faster, increase performance and improve the mood. In addition, it is recommended to prevent the body against ice bathing after strength training, but to promote it after resistance training.

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