Elite Sports & Colleges

As every coach knows, keeping your best players on the field and attracting the best players and top athletes in the first instance is vital to achieving success. Consequently, to maximise player availability, minimise recovery times and reduce injury rates, the strength and conditioning coach will have to work with the medical team to ensure maximum fitness while minimising fatigue – the primary precursor of injury.

After incorporating CET CryoSpa ice bath therapy into their recovery protocols the English Super League Rugby team, Widnes Vikings, reported a 16% increase in player availability and a 21% decrease in injury rates with an 11% reduction in the average cost of injury treatment.

It is interesting to note all CET clients, which include AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Team GB, German Olympic Association, Manchester United & the Brooklyn Nets, used cold water immersion in some format, mostly cold tubs, cold plunge pools and ice baths, prior to installing a CET CryoSpa. Only after installing the CET CryoSpa did they realise that not all cold water immersion is the same. The Toronto Blue Jays are a great example as they used both cold plunge pools and stainless steel tubs before deciding to buy a CET CryoSpa for Rogers Stadium. They then quickly added five more CryoSpas at their Florida training facilities once they realised the benefits CET CryoSpas offered compared to other options.

 

How do ice baths help recovery?

At a Sports Injury Summit held at Wembley Stadium in London, research scientist Gregory Dupont presented the results of a study which monitored injury rates in European Champions League teams over two seasons. The startling statistic was that injury rates increased more than 6-fold when playing two matches per week compared to one match per week. Moreover, it was established, unsurprisingly, the primary precursor of injury was fatigue.  The second part of the study investigated the most effective recovery methods required to combat fatigue, thereby lowering the risk of injury. The results showed the top 3 recovery elements were an athlete’s lifestyle, namely sleep, diet and hydration and the leading intervention was cold water immersion.

(http://bit.ly/2E9Me9u)

 

How does the CryoSpa achieve such effective cooling?

The thermal conductivity of water is 26 times higher than air and the density of water is over 800 times greater than air and when you add in cooling by convection not just conduction combined with compression through hydrostatic pressure, you get a much more penetrating cold resulting in a significantly improved therapeutic effect.

This is why so many elite sports facilities have replaced their old fashioned ice baths, cold tubs or in-ground plunge pools with much more therapeutically effective saltwater CryoSpa ice bath technology.

Click here for:

Request information

Please complete the following details:
* indicates required





Professional Background *:

I'm interested in the following product *:

Message:

What benefits would a CryoSpa ice bath have for you & your athletes?

  • Faster recovery after training, combating fatigue and lowering risk of injury.

  • Increase player availability, resolve injuries faster and lower the cost of treatment.

  • Maximise the therapeutic effect through the combination of cooling by conduction & convection, hydrostatic pressure, massage effect and anti-inflammatory salt water.

female athlete

Frequently Asked Questions

Question not answered?

Why do footballers take ice baths?

It is quite commonly stated that ice baths reduce lactic acid but this is not the case. Lactic acid, or lactate, occurs when the body gets into an oxygen debt situation i.e. is functioning anaerobically. When the level of activity ceases, or reduces sufficiently, in simple terms the body can acquire surplus oxygen, which is used to convert the lactic acid back to its normal pyruvate / pyruvic acid state.

According to Gregory Dupont, who presented at the FIFA sponsored Sports Injury Summit held at Wembley in 2013 the main precursor of injury is fatigue. Further research investigated the common strategies for aiding recovery, minimising fatigue and, thereby, lowering the risk of injury.

The conclusion was good diet, good sleep, hydration [all lifestyle factors] plus cold water immersion were the main scientifically proven methods of aiding recovery and minimising fatigue.

The other side of the coin is performance and here we find that fatigue inhibits performance. So if we can manage fatigue by improving fitness and aiding recovery the outcome is improved performance and lowered risk of injury.

How long should you stay in an ice bath?

The therapeutic effect is a factor of temperature and time. The colder it is, and the more penetrating that cold, then less time is required to cool the tissue to a therapeutic level.

Traditional ice baths consisted of adding ice to water and depending on the amount of ice versus the amount of water these ice baths could be as high as 10 or 12C [50 – 55F]. In these circumstances, the recommended dosage varied from 10 to 15 or even 20 minutes.

With modern digitally controlled ice baths, or CryoSpas, which chill by conduction and convection [i.e. the jets are creating a ‘wind chill’ effect], the average treatment time is typically 3 to 6 minutes.

Should I use an ice bath after every training session?

The debate on the use of ice baths, or cold-water immersion, rages on with many pundits claiming it is good and others claiming it is not.

The answer depends on the stage of training the athlete is at and the main objective of that training block.

If you are in the pre-competition phase of training and the main objective is to build power then there is research indicating that ice baths (and other micro-strategies for minimising training responses, such as anti-oxidant supplementation) during this phase may limit the adaptation effect i.e. your muscles will adapt to the increased workload faster if the body is allowed to contend with the inflammation and micro-tears naturally without the intervention of cold water immersion.

However, if you are tapering the workload toward an upcoming competitive event or if you are in the competitive part of the season then the main focus shifts to recovery and minimising fatigue rather than power building and in these circumstances research indicates the use of ice baths will be beneficial.

The key word here is fatigue. Fatigue is the main precursor of injury and is also a major performance inhibitor. Consequently, the fitness coach’s objective is to maximise fitness and minimise fatigue in order to maximise performance and lower the risk of injury.

And the main strategies for combating fatigue: Good Sleep, Good Diet, Hydration and Cold Water Immersion [per Gregory Dupont, FIFA Sports Injury Summit, Wembley Stadium, April 2013].

The argument is further complicated in team sports where skill, tactics and pre-planned moves need to be coached on the training pitch. In these sports the coach will want the players to be mentally alert and physically prepared to benefit fully from the coaching session, not hobbling around only partially recovered from the previous day’s training. In this instance, there may be a conflict of interest where the fitness coach is trying to maximise adaptation while the team coach wants the players recovered sufficiently to benefit fully from the training session, therefore, CWI may be strategically used to fit the on-going training session plans rather than eliminated to cater for both objectives.

So are ice baths good or bad?

The answer depends on the part of the season and the main objective of the current training regime. In the competitive phase of the season the use of ice baths will help minimise fatigue and aid recovery, thereby improving performance and lowering the risk of injury. In the pre-season, or power-building phase, of training the use of ice baths may adversely affect the adaptive response.

So, as with most tools in the athlete preparation toolbox, it is how the coach uses CWI to best effect, rather than whether it is appropriate to use it or not!