I thought I’d kick off the Crossfit section with an interesting link to a cheap and effective recovery aid: Contrast hydrotherapy.
Recovery has been a step-child subject in CF circles. There are techniques and modalities that help beyond simply The Zone. We have noticed significant recovery improvements with just an ice bath immersion. This is easier to implement as no heated water is necessary, but it makes stretching at the end of a session difficult if not impossible. On the other hand, if the athlete stretches at at the end of the session it can be brutal to climb in the cold water. An alternating bath can be the perfect solution. The session can end, the athlete stretches, hits the hot tub first, then the cold tub and alternates between the two several times.
The attached photo is from the past winter. It was 22*F in Chico and the ice was over an inch thick. GET SOME!
Here is an abstract from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 697–702.
The Effect of Contrast Water Therapy on Symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Joanna M. Vaile
Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia; Nicholas D. Gill
School of Sport and Exercise Science, Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand; Anthony J. Blazevich
Department of Sport Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, United Kingdom
Vaile, J.M., N.D. Gill, and A.J. Blazevich. The effect of contrast water therapy on symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(2):697–702. 2007.—This study examined the effect of contrast water therapy (CWT) on the physiological and functional symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following DOMS-inducing leg press exercise. Thirteen recreational athletes performed 2 experimental trials separated by 6 weeks in a randomized crossover design. On each occasion, subjects performed a DOMS-inducing leg press protocol consisting of 5 × 10 eccentric contractions (180 seconds recovery between sets) at 140% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM). This was followed by a 15-minute recovery period incorporating either CWT or no intervention, passive recovery (PAS). Creatine kinase concentration (CK), perceived pain, thigh volume, isometric squat strength, and weighted jump squat performance were measured prior to the eccentric exercise, immediately post recovery, and 24, 48, and 72 hours post recovery. Isometric force production was not reduced below baseline measures throughout the 72-hour data collection period following CWT (4–10%). However, following PAS, isometric force production (mean ± SD) was 14.8 ± 11.4% below baseline immediately post recovery (p < 0.05), 20.8 ± 15.6% 24 hours post recovery (p < 0.05), and 22.5 ± 12.3% 48 hours post recovery (p < 0.05). Peak power produced during the jump squat was significantly reduced (p < 0.05) following both PAS (20.9 ± 13.4%) and CWT (12.8 ± 8.0%), with the mean reduction in power for PAS being marginally (not significantly) greater than for CWT (effect size = 0.76). Thigh volume measured immediately following CWT was significantly less than PAS. No significant differences in the changes in CK were found; in addition, there were no significant (p > 0.01) differences in perceived pain between treatments. 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.
Key Words: fatigue, swelling, pain, recovery