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Thursday, January 11, 2018

PRE SEASON TRAINING DON'TS #1 - ICE BATHS FOR RECOVERY


All we see and hear about from AFL strength and fitness circles is recovery, recovery, recovery.

I'm not against recovery when you're training load is ridiculously high like professional AFL players but at the local/amateur level we only train 3 - 4 hrs a week and whatever you do on your own.

Our training volume is generally that that high to what the body can withstand but I guess a little bit of relativity comes in here.

When you train you disrupt the body from a state called homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the your everyday go-along-with-your-business physical and mental state of mind.

You're not stressed but you're not relaxed - your chillaxed I suppose.

It is the point where your heart rate is steady, your muscles are fresh apart from some residual fatigue from previous training sessions and your mind is in a good place.

When you put the body under stress, physical or mental, those markers listed above shift depending on the intensity of the stress.

If you go for a nice easy 3km beach run, they will elevate to a moderate to high level but take a short time to get back to their normal levels.

If you do a sprint session then you'll elevate to high a high or even extremely high level but again as speed training is all about short sets with full rest, it will take more time for your central nervous system to get back to baseline then the other markers.

It should be noted that the CNS takes longer to recover then the muscles do after intense exercise.

If you perform a repeat session, essentially combining endurance and speed then your probably taking your levels as far away from your homeostasis level as possible.

How far you shift away from your baseline isn't the point of this post but how you get back there is.

Most players think ice bath after training but why?

Because the AFL do.

That's it.

Do you know how the ice works in recovery?

More importantly do you know how ice works in regards to adaptation?

If you did then you probably wouldn't do it.

Training causes a inflammation which includes muscle damage, hypoxic tissue etc - a lot of sports sciencey stuff that is beyond the scope of a FB post.

Don't get me wrong, ice DOES help greatly with inflammation and recovery, but during the pre-season you want YOUR OWN BODY to heal itself because this is how adaptation works.

It's a bit like teach a man to fish, eats for a lifetime life lesson.

"Artificial recovery" helps a lot to recover from the muscle damage which during the in-season is exactly what you want, but during the off-season when training is high and the goal is improvement, it stops right there and no adaptation, thus improvements (strength, speed, endurance), takes place.

You MIGHT use it between training sessions when on a schedule of Mon/Wed or Tue/Thu but that's it, and I wouldn't even do it then.

Actual studies have shown ZERO improvements in speed, strength and endurance when using ice baths over relative longer training periods, especially for "under-trained" players like most of us.

When you're already big, strong, fast and fit, then you've already made the adaptations and recovery on it's own is fine.

Ice is also not as beneficial as you think it is in game injuries either but that's another post for another day.

You want to use the #1 recovery mode?

Go to sleep.

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