Training doesn’t end when you finish your workout. Muscular and nervous system recovery is just as important as lifting and skating. Epsom salt baths, ice baths and hot/cold contrasts are great modalities to elevate your recovery.
Epsom salt baths are a great recovery tool to help speed up muscle recovery and reduce the impact of DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. Epsom salts, also known as Magnesium Sulphate, are involved in muscular regeneration processes such as protein synthesis and the activation of B complexes within the body. Epsom salt baths can help to reduce muscle pain from hard training sessions as well as increase recovery time. You can have epsom salt baths more than once a week, being most beneficial on the nights following a hard training day. For Premier Strength athletes these would be Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights after a hard training day using between 2-4 cups of epsom salt dissolved in warm to hot bath water.
Ice baths are another great way to reduce soreness from training, all while promoting faster recovery. The science states that ice baths constrict blood vessels and flush harmful training byproducts such as lactic acid out of the muscle. Cold baths also reduce swelling and tissue breakdown, as well as decrease metabolic activity and slow down physiological processes. As your body begins to warm up following icing, circulation is promoted helping to bring blood into the affected muscle fibres (Wilcock et al., 2006) Benefits come from water temperature between 12 and 15 degrees celsius for anywhere from 5 up to 20 mins.
Hot/cold contrasts are also an effective way to help speed up recovery. Contrast therapy requires an alternating temperature immersion with protocols varying from 30 secs-5mins in one extreme temperature, followed by immediate immersion in the contrasting temp for the same length of time. Contrast baths or showers can help to stimulate blood flow to affected areas, increase blood lactate removal, reduce inflammation and post workout soreness, as well as stimulating greater general blood circulation. (Wilcock et al., 2006)
Your training program doesn’t end when you leave the gym. Make sure you are doing all you can to optimize your training even after you leave the shamrock.
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