What is the significance of an ice bath after a match?


Patron asks:

I play for my college in rugby, i play either in the second row or back row, we come up against soe tough opposition, and some bruising encounters.

After the matches some of the guys brave an ice bath, I could never do it, all i want is a warm shower and to get home and relax. I usually tend to nurse my wounds through the week but feel the pain in training. It just seems to be building up and my body feels like a train wreck at the moment.

What is the significance of the ice bath, I would like to know the “Science” behind the idea. It would be nice to play a match at the weekend without limping around the next few days.

I take whey protein after gym sessions for muscle building and muscle recovery, but its the hits and knocks that are bothering me, I fear that I will do some serious damage if I keep going at this rate.

We train in the gym Wednesdays & Fridays (special programs) and on the field Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturday mornings, with matches on sunday.

Most of the gym work we do is body specific, if there is a lot of running done at a training session on the field we do an upper body session, or if it is mostly moves and skills we would do a full workout or a circuit session.

If we are getting over worked they do a pool session with us, or if not they have been known to do something like pilates (not since i started with them, its more like a myth)

Best answer:

Answer by Tino
The Ice reduces swelling and pressure. Which reduces pain and can help the healing process.

Having strong muscles is the BEST way to avoid injury. Streaching also help too.

3 thoughts on “What is the significance of an ice bath after a match?

  1. When you are in the ice bath the veins and arteries in your legs contract. Only once you leave the water and begin to warm up does the recovery start. The veins and arteries don’t simply open, they open slightly then contract, open more then contract. This causes flow and removes lactic acid from your system. Most people do about 12 min in the bath. In about a minute your legs go numb and its fine. Just cup and hold.

    If you still can’t brave the bath, a 10min jog removes 64% of the lactic acid in your legs, a 20min jog removes 88%. This has to be done immediatly after the game. Followed by a good stretch.

    The bath will only take the soreness away, the bruises you’re on your own. Good luck.

  2. Application of cold through an ice bath reduces intra muscular bleeding in soft tissue injury. This reduces swelling in the acute stage (first 24 hours) and reduces pain, the faster your body can recover the better. It can be immensly painfull though sticking a severly sprained ankle into a bucket of ice water, but the sooner the better as swelling is internal bleeding. But never apply ice “directly” to the injury, remember RICE, Rest Ice Compression Elevation.

  3. Yep, the ice reduces swelling and promotes blood flow to the muscles which helps get rid of lactic acid. Improves the recovery time and gets your body ready for the next onslaught even faster.

    You’re at college so they probably know what they are doing but we always cut the gym sessions during the season. If you come into the season at a level that requires you to be in the gym then you’re in a tight spot. Your body needs recovery time and one day a week is not enough. Practices 3x a week are good but I’d get off the weights and get into water running, swimming or just jogging/running exercises like interval training on the Wednesday and Friday (yoga and pilates are good if you’re into those too). Once the season is over, then get back into the gym and work on the strength training.

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