Friday, 1 November 2013

Training Area: Recuperation - ex.R5 [HEAT & ICE]

Ok another post on recuperation for you. 

This post is going to be on the general subject of using cold and hot to recover from training or injuries. There are a lot of conflicting opinions on this depending on who you talk to. I'm going to give you the story from the 'warzone'. I'll share what works for me - these techniques have helped me to train longer and harder without injury. I had almost 1 year of full-time 6 hours a day, 6 days a week training without injury so I think I can put my confidence in these exercises.

Daily Exercises

I have 4 Decathlon Hot/Cold Packs (click link to view). After training I take them out the freezer and put them on my joints/muscles which have a slight tendon problem or tendonitis for around 30 minutes. Afterwards I then put the packs in the microwave and place back on the same joints/muscles to warm and relax them for another 30 minutes. Muscles which are super tense from over-use I treat with heat only. I put the hot packs on for about 30 minutes.  
Ice packs on knees to treat sore cartilage & tendons
Ice pack on knee cartilage | Heat pack on wrist and neck
Weekly Exercises

Every Friday I take an ice bath followed by a hot bath (also known as contrast bath). This is absolutely vital for me to recover from a tough week of training. I started this when my knees started to give me problems - I had an MRI scan which showed no problems. My father suggested I take ice baths and my physical trainer ice baths with hot baths. So reluctantly (!) I started the weekly routine and I haven't had knee problems since. My process is to fill the bath with cold water and then put in a couple buckets of ice - I will then lay in the bath for 8 minutes (or try and lay in it!?!?) with my chest, shoulders, back and neck also immersed if my upper body is sore [this really really hurts!]. After the 8 minutes I take a really hot shower (if you have access to a shower which is not in the bath [if not then just take one ice bath for 15 minutes]) and then return for a second 8 minute session in the ice bath (yeyyyy ;) ). I then let the cold water drain away and I replace it with lovely super hot water and I add salts and eucalyptus oil for a better muscle soak. Then I stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes.

Ice bath with my coach in a natural lake in england

One-off Exercises

An exercise I perform when I have torn a muscle and am in the rehabilitation phase (not the first 3 days and not before all the bruising disappears) or don't have access to a bath is to use an infra-red heat lamp to promote blood flow to the area and relax muscles.

I have found this to be even more effective that using the heat packs mentioned above.

Using infra-red heat lamp to relax lower-back muscles
                                    



There was an error in this gadget