Recovery – The Contrast Bath

Jake Articles

As many of you have experienced from your first few weeks of training, recovery plays an important part in your overall training plan. We scale the workouts to the best of our abilities, trying to ensure that you get a good workout without having you never come again. Inevitably, you’ll run into a workout that’s going to have you limping up (and down!) stairs, waking up in the middle of the night wondering why you can’t fully extend your arms, and wincing whenever you sit. While we have all trained in sore, fatigued states before, coming into your workout feeling fresh and strong only means that you’re one step ahead of the game. So as any decent person who has put you through hell more than once would do, I’m going to highlight a few ways to lead you down the wonderful road to recovery. I won’t pretend that any of this is ground breaking material, but if it means you’re able to train more, I’ve done my job.

For this first post, we’ll take a look at contrast water therapy. Why? It’s easy. Everyone can do it, and there isn’t much of a reason not to, unless you’re a wuss. Yeah, I said it. The idea is simple; alternate between periods of hot and cold water, either in the shower or by going from a hot shower to a cold bath. Try 2 minutes of hot, 30 seconds of cold. Rinse and repeat x 4.

For something that costs you next to nothing, the cost-benefit ratio is high. Straight from an NSCA study on Contrast Water Therapy:

“Contrast water therapy was associated with a smaller reduction, and faster restoration, of strength and power measured by isometric force and jump squat production following DOMS-inducing leg press exercise when compared to PAS. Therefore, CWT seems to be effective in reducing and improving the recovery of functional deficiencies that result from DOMS, as opposed to passive recovery.”

So give it a try. The guys at Catalyst Athletics are doing it. I just did it. Shouldn’t you?