What do tennis champs Andy Murray and Naomi Osaka, athletes Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, and singer-superstar Lady Gaga have in common?
Here’s a hint:
From L-R: Lady Gaga, Mo Farah and Andy Murray.
Yup, they’re all big fans of dunking themselves in a tub of ice after a major performance. Both of the sport and musical variety.
We roughly know why they do it because we’ve been exposed to the notion that ice baths are good for you when it comes to recovery, countering pain and relieving soreness and inflammation.
However, not to throw cold water on you or anything, but ice baths may not be good for you if muscle building is your goal.
In fact, new studies have shown that ice baths can actually hinder your progress, aka gains.
A breakdown of how ice baths work
Photo from Unsplash
Ice baths have been around since ancient times when the Greeks and Romans used water for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Recently, however, we’ve been noticing a spike in the popularity of ice baths.
This doesn’t happen for no reason; ice baths do help and have plenty of benefits.
They are one of the easiest and fastest ways to soothe post-exercise pain, despite the agonizing process. Ice baths constrict our blood vessels, which then reduces inflammation and enhances recovery.
Plus, from a mental standpoint, if you can take an ice bath any time, any day, what can’t you handle?
Withstanding an ice bath means training your body and mind to fight external stress and stimuli. It isn’t an easy feat, but it’ll do wonders for your mental health!
Just take it from this Reddit user:
So yes, in a way, ice baths are actually good for you.
… and that’s a BIG however — cold/ice water is also known to reduce or slow blood flow.
This, in turn, slows down muscle protein synthesis, the process your muscles undergo to rebuild themselves.
When it comes to progress and gains, some inflammation is better because your muscles rebuild to become stronger or bigger, so putting a stopper on that process may not actually be helpful.
So, as we said earlier, if muscle gains are your goal, you might want to avoid ice baths.
This Reddit user had a succinct response to the question, “Do you use ice baths for recovery?”
All this ought to explain how cold baths can numb your sore muscles and heal injuries. But it’s not really the best recovery method after a workout session, especially if what you’re aiming for is to become better, stronger and faster.
So, is there any other way optimum recovery can be achieved? Of course there is!
A better recovery method
Imagine being able to soothe and relieve pain and inflammation, and prep your muscles for your next big training to ensure maximum gains.
Imagine being able to do all this without hindering any progress whatsoever.
All this is possible with the help of a massage gun, which can do everything an ice bath can — relieve pain, reduce inflammation, soothe soreness, and more.
On that note, a thorough analysis was even conducted to study the effectiveness of different recovery methods such as contrast therapy, ice baths and massages on reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), muscle fatigue and inflammation.
The analysis concluded that ice baths and massages lowered inflammation the most, but that massages were the best for reducing DOMS and fatigue.
Plus, in another study, results showed that ice baths are no more effective than active recovery while a different study went as far as to claim that ice baths may actually be just another form of placebo. But we won’t delve into that (we will in another article).
The point is, there is a better and painless way to recover and improve your gains, and that’s through the use of a massage gun.
If you genuinely enjoy the feeling of immersing yourself in ice baths, then, by all means, go for it.
What matters is that you’re aware of what it does and doesn’t do. This way, you don’t end up wondering why there aren’t any improvements despite the dips you’ve taken in shocking cold water.
So, if you’re aiming to recover better, faster AND focus on gains and strength at the time, then a massage gun is the way to go.
How to use a massage gun for recovery
The first thing you need to know about massage guns is that not all are the same.
Some are made heavier, some lighter. Some give you powerful, deep tissue massages that hit the spot, while others just vibrate uselessly against your skin.
That’s why you should take time to research and figure out what would be best for you and your needs.
Just to put things into context, let’s use the Hydragun as a benchmark. Here are the specs:
Specs and design aside, it’s equally important to understand the build of the massage gun.
The Hydragun, for example, uses a high-torque brushless digital motor that ensures a noiseless, heatless and frictionless massage.
On top of that, its aerospace-grade aluminum chassis is lightweight, durable, heat-dissipating, noise- and vibration-dampening, wipe-clean, and resistant to corrosion by sweat and repeated sanitization.
In short, it will not be prone to wear and tear, especially since you’ll be using it frequently before and after your workouts.
So, now that you know the basics, it’s only a matter of selecting any of the 7 attachment heads, switching the massage gun on and massaging the target area.
You can use the Hydragun as part of your warm-up or cooldown routine, during rest between sets and for DOMS prevention.
The Hydragun can also be included as part of your relaxation or me time, and can be used before bed or while you’re working away at your desk.
Don’t put your recovery routine on ice
To conclude, there really isn’t a need to go through so much pain and trouble soaking yourself in an ice bath just to achieve some relief. Not to mention the prep and cleanup work that needs to be done with every single ice bath session!
With a massage gun like the Hydragun, recovery and pain relief is only a press of a button away. Get your Hydragun today and make way for faster and better recovery and results.
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