Category Archives: Personal Training

Personal Training

Ice baths: are they worth it?

Ice baths: are they worth it?

Who uses them?

Win or lose, after a tennis match British number one Andy Murray has a shower, some food and drink, a massage and then rounds off his routine with an ice bath. And he’s not the only athlete to use ice baths to aid recovery after a competition. Heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill used to stand in a wheelie bin of iced water for the sake of her muscles, and Paula Radcliffe also put her success in 2002 down to ice baths. The success of these sportspeople and others who adopt this technique would suggest they work, but when you look for evidence for the impact of this painful remedy, it’s a grey area.

Why do we use them?

The idea is that immersing the body in freezing cold water speeds up recovery after exercise by reducing temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles. Lots of us will have noticed that an ice pack does reduce the pain and swelling when you’ve pulled a muscle. In one study participants were instructed to put one leg into an ice bath after a strenuous run, and to leave the other one out. Swelling was reduced in the freezing cold leg.

For most of us a little pain relief might be good enough, but for the professional athlete or keen amateur who wants to build muscle, then attempts to mitigate inflammation could be counterproductive. Immersion in cold water is known to reduce blood flow and this could slow down muscle protein synthesis, where the muscle rebuilds itself after injury or strain.

To reap the benefits of doing weights, for example, some inflammation might be useful to help the muscles to repair. So perhaps deliberately reducing that inflammation isn’t such a good idea.

Pros and Cons

There are lots of pros and cons to taking ice baths.

Pros:

  • You can treat a larger area of your body in one go.
  • It helps with flushing lactic acid out from the muscle.
  • It solves the problem of only having one one ice pack or bag of peas to hand!

Cons:

  • It’s cold!
  • They can cause more harm than good – anything over 10 minutes is too long.
  • Don’t assume the colder the bath, the better. I would assume you would also like a shower after your sweaty run or gym workout, and going from a super cold ice bath to a warm shower can erase any potential benefit.

To conclude, because they may work for one person doesn’t mean they will work for everyone, if they do work, great! If you are someone who they don’t work for there are other tools, techniques and skill you can use to aid recovery.

Cramping in Athletes

Cramping in Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you’re probably familiar with cramping. It often occurs when upping your training schedule, for example, as the muscles get used to working in different conditions. Athletes can be particularly prone to experience cramps in warm weather, so let’s take a look into why it happens and how we can avoid it.… Continue Reading

Half Marathon Top Tips: Post-Race Stretches

Half Marathon Top Tips: Post-Race Stretches

Hopefully you’ve seen our top tips for pre-event warm up dynamic stretching (check out the lastest video on our Facebook page if you haven’t!), which are vital in preparing your body for your race. Here are our top five tips for how to cool down your body after your event, which are as equally important.… Continue Reading

Hip Tips for Squatting

Hip Tips for Squatting

The squat is a huge exercise in strength training, but also for functionality for athletes. Performing a squat uses movement in the knee and hip joints, to generate power from the quadriceps and gluteal muscles, which are some of the biggest and generally speaking, strongest muscles in the body. As well as being integral to… Continue Reading

6 Reasons you Should Not Run …and How to Fix it!

  Is there any reason why you just should not run? Why does it seem like runners are always injured? Surely running is the most natural exercise in the world. We were born to run right? Really? All of us? Recent research suggests that many of us are either simply not designed to run, or our… Continue Reading

5 Juice Recipes you HAVE to try!

If you are looking for juice recipes you have to try that are nutritious and delicious…then look no further! Whether you have a NutriBullet, Centrifugal Juicer or Nutri Ninja, these recipes can be enjoyed to aid your good health… Choose from: Green Goddess: Great for your skin, your muscle recovery (heaps of magnesium) and general… Continue Reading