Cold Showers / Baths

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by howierart, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. howierart

    howierart New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have recently been reading about the benefits of a cold shower or bath after training. Apparently it is very common in marathon runners. For example the British Athelete Paula Radcliffe submergers herself in a bath of iced water after a race. This I am told is to reset the lactic acid in legs and prevents damage to muscles.

    Any cyclists do this to or have any thoughts about it?
     
    Tags:


  2. paskyhawk

    paskyhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found it helped on very hard runs or rides. I would stretch after a ride, take protein and a cold shower, even take some Advil to keep the muscle swelling down. It takes the right mindset to get in a cold shower, you have to picture it relieving your sore muscles. By the way build up of lactic acid may not be the culprit previously thought, new research indicates it may be protecting the muscle cells (I'll look for the link).

    Rich
     
  3. spinner32

    spinner32 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    This sounds fascinating. Definitely post the link if you can find it!

    On the topic of cold showers and baths - I have found that they most certainly helped me while I was running track during high school. The benefits I noticed were basically a loosening/relaxation of the muscles. From the standpoint of overall comfort, they were worth the time and short-term discomfort of hopping into a cold bath.
    Specifically on the bike, they seem to help me the most after days involving short, high-intensity exertions (crits, sprint workouts, power intervals, etc). On the flip side, I've noticed that they don't seem to do much for me after LSD rides. Not sure on the physiological reasoning for this - just my observation.
    So, I say give it a try if you can stand the initial shock- hahaha, yikes! [​IMG]
     
  4. paskyhawk

    paskyhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    http://greatganesha.wordpress.com/2006/05/17/lactic-acid/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/16/h...tml?ex=1179460800&en=f4e64aedb5d64ab1&ei=5070
    Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles' Foe, It's Fuel
    E-MailPrint Reprints Save

    By GINA KOLATA
    Published: May 16, 2006
    Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out.

    Skip to next paragraph

    Ben Stansall/European Pressphoto Agency
    Coaches and personal trainers tell athletes and exercisers that they have to learn to work out at just below their "lactic threshold," that point of diminishing returns when lactic acid starts to accumulate. Some athletes even have blood tests to find their personal lactic thresholds.

    But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid.

    The notion that lactic acid was bad took hold more than a century ago, said George A. Brooks, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. It stuck because it seemed to make so much sense.

    "It's one of the classic mistakes in the history of science," Dr. Brooks said.

    Its origins lie in a study by a Nobel laureate, Otto Meyerhof, who in the early years of the 20th century cut a frog in half and put its bottom half in a jar. The frog's muscles had no circulation — no source of oxygen or energy.

    Dr. Myerhoff gave the frog's leg electric shocks to make the muscles contract, but after a few twitches, the muscles stopped moving. Then, when Dr. Myerhoff examined the muscles, he discovered that they were bathed in lactic acid.

    A theory was born. Lack of oxygen to muscles leads to lactic acid, leads to fatigue.

    Athletes were told that they should spend most of their effort exercising aerobically, using glucose as a fuel. If they tried to spend too much time exercising harder, in the anaerobic zone, they were told, they would pay a price, that lactic acid would accumulate in the muscles, forcing them to stop.

    Few scientists questioned this view, Dr. Brooks said. But, he said, he became interested in it in the 1960's, when he was running track at Queens College and his coach told him that his performance was limited by a buildup of lactic acid.

    When he graduated and began working on a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, he decided to study the lactic acid hypothesis for his dissertation.

    "I gave rats radioactive lactic acid, and I found that they burned it faster than anything else I could give them," Dr. Brooks said.

    It looked as if lactic acid was there for a reason. It was a source of energy.

    Dr. Brooks said he published the finding in the late 70's. Other researchers challenged him at meetings and in print.

    "I had huge fights, I had terrible trouble getting my grants funded, I had my papers rejected," Dr. Brooks recalled. But he soldiered on, conducting more elaborate studies with rats and, years later, moving on to humans. Every time, with every study, his results were consistent with his radical idea.

    Eventually, other researchers confirmed the work. And gradually, the thinking among exercise physiologists began to change.

    "The evidence has continued to mount," said L. Bruce Gladden, a professor of health and human performance at Auburn University. "It became clear that it is not so simple as to say, Lactic acid is a bad thing and it causes fatigue."

    As for the idea that lactic acid causes muscle soreness, Dr. Gladden said, that never made sense.

    "Lactic acid will be gone from your muscles within an hour of exercise," he said. "You get sore one to three days later. The time frame is not consistent, and the mechanisms have not been found."

    The understanding now is that muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid. The lactic acid is taken up and used as a fuel by mitochondria, the energy factories in muscle cells.

    Mitochondria even have a special transporter protein to move the substance into them, Dr. Brooks found. Intense training makes a difference, he said, because it can make double the mitochondrial mass.

    It is clear that the old lactic acid theory cannot explain what is happening to muscles, Dr. Brooks and others said.

    Yet, Dr. Brooks said, even though coaches often believed in the myth of the lactic acid threshold, they ended up training athletes in the best way possible to increase their mitochondria. "Coaches have understood things the scientists didn't," he said.

    Through trial and error, coaches learned that athletic performance improved when athletes worked on endurance, running longer and longer distances, for example.

    That, it turns out, increased the mass of their muscle mitochondria, letting them burn more lactic acid and allowing the muscles to work harder and longer.

    Just before a race, coaches often tell athletes to train very hard in brief spurts.

    That extra stress increases the mitochondria mass even more, Dr. Brooks said, and is the reason for improved performance.

    And the scientists?

    They took much longer to figure it out.

    "They said, 'You're anaerobic, you need more oxygen,' " Dr. Brooks said. "The scientists were stuck in 1920."
     
  5. Eden

    Eden New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very interesting, but back to the original question of cold water

    I tried this last year during a very long stage race (well long for me as I am a cat 4 and last year was my 1st year racing :D )
    3 days 75mi road race, TT and crit on same day, 101mi road race. - lots of climbing on both road race stages (around 7,500 ft on day 3)
    I did the cold water thing after the 75 mile stage and experienced minimal soreness the next day - same for the 101 mile stage.
    What I was told about why it works is that you are creating a lot of micro tears in your muscles when you work out hard, by doing the cold soak you are reducing the inflammation caused by all the little injuries, thus decreasing the soreness. It's like putting an icepack on.
     
  6. WKB

    WKB New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    I used to do this regularly as a runner and found it helped a lot. Now that I cycle, I do it for the same reason. I have heard the same as you: the cold reduces inflammation caused by all the micro tears. I don't know if that is true or not, but I do feel it helps my legs recover....

    Best, Keefe.
     
  7. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    0
    The top racers here in Japan (ie, Asian Continental Teams such as Skil Shimano, Bridgestone Anchor and others) use a similar method:
    first you get into an ice-cold bath, up to about the level of your waist (you want the water to cover not only your legs, but also the muscles in your butt). Then, after a few minutes quickly immerse yourself in a hot bath. Repeat the procedure 4 or 5 times. This enhances blood flow to the affected muscles, as well as helping alleviate inflammation.
    I generally do this after races and hard training, the last "dip" I usually make the cold one, followed by a lukewarm shower to warm up the body in general. It really works! Although, this is easy to do in Japan, where they have hot springs you can go to, with different baths at different temperatures, including the one with tap water pouring in (it's ice cold :eek: ).
    For those of you not residing in Japan - not sure how you could replicate this at home....maybe go to a fitness center or someplace??
     
  8. recoverydoc

    recoverydoc New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    No question this helps and I use it with my athelets it helps control inflamation as well as flush out metabolic waste products that are in the legs after training. Add so inversion to the legs and massage and it will help with recovery.



     
  9. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yogis do it, for whatever that's worth. They claim the lymphatic system is somehow stimulated when all the blood rushes to the surface of the skin. A corollary is that you have to do it until it no longer feels cold because that means your body has adjusted the blood flow to the surface of your skin as much as it will.

    Trying it, I found that most water softeners only work on the hot water, probably in order to reduce salt usage and to keep sodium out of cooking water. However, where I live, you just can't rinse off and a sticky mess of soap builds up in the bottom of the tub.
     
  10. HUMP DIESEL

    HUMP DIESEL New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have done this with great results, and I know a coach/training partner that does this also.

    What I do is get into the bath and then turn on the water, this way you can still breathe.....LOL This gets you used to the water without the shock.

    Stay in until it is no longer cold.

    You can actually feel the heat coming out of your legs and butt.

    HUMP
     
  11. existence

    existence New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,187
    Likes Received:
    0
    This (heat/cold) is pretty old school circa 1998 (although basic ice baths go back donkeys years). Wouldnt call it new. But it is indeed the combination of heat and cold (i.e sitting in an ice bath alone isnt really cutting it). I had some good science on this back in the day (printed out by coaches) but be buggered if I know where it is. Generally you run ice bath and use the shower for heat. Alternate between the two at home. 30s in cold/15s under heat then 60/30 then 120/30 and then (240/30 x 2). Dry off but dont sit still. Go for a 10-15 min light walk. All this should be POST your post ride nutrition.

    Thats just the way we did it but hey I dont know anything about cycling so maybe there are some cycling heroes out there with better clues.
     
  12. maria007

    maria007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratcliffe the famous British long distance runner is famous and swears by her cold baths post work out!
     
Loading...
Loading...