Revive and Recover: Why Fighters Use Full Body Ice Baths for Recovery

Revive and Recover: Why Fighters Use Full Body Ice Baths for Recovery

Have you seen your favourite boxer or Mixed Martial Artist throwing themselves  into a bath full of ice after a brutal session? Here's why they do it, and why you should too..

As a fighter, your body endures rigorous training sessions, intense fights, and physical demands that push your limits. The physical and mental toll of combat sports can be overwhelming, and proper recovery is crucial to maintain peak performance. One popular recovery technique used by fighters is full body ice baths. Yes, immersing your entire body in ice-cold water might sound extreme, but many fighters swear by the benefits it provides. In this blog post, we'll delve into why fighters use full body ice baths for recovery and how it can enhance their performance in the ring.

What is a full body ice bath?

A full body ice bath, also known as cold water immersion or cold therapy, is a recovery method that involves immersing your entire body in ice-cold water for a certain period of time. Typically, the water temperature ranges from 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius), and the duration of the ice bath can vary from a few minutes to up to 10 minutes, depending on the individual's preference and tolerance.

Why do fighters use full body ice baths for recovery?


  1. Reduces inflammation and swelling: Combat sports training and fights can cause inflammation in muscles and joints due to repetitive impact, and muscle tears. Full body ice baths can help to constrict blood vessels, before rapidly opening up (once you step out) and increasing blood flow, and decrease inflammation and swelling in the muscles and joints. This can be especially beneficial after intense training sessions or fights, as it may aid in reducing muscle soreness, bruising, and swelling, and promote faster recovery.

  2. Relieves muscle soreness and pain: Fighters often experience muscle soreness and pain from strenuous training and fights. Immersing the body in icy cold water can numb the nerve endings in muscles, which can reduce the perception of pain and discomfort. The cold temperature can also help to decrease muscle spasms, allowing the muscles to relax and recover more quickly, providing relief from soreness and pain.

  3. Enhances recovery and circulation: Cold water immersion can increase circulation in the body, which can help to flush out waste products, such as lactic acid, that can accumulate in muscles during intense physical activity. Improved circulation can also help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to muscles more efficiently, aiding in the recovery process. Full body ice baths can also improve the body's lymphatic system, which plays a role in removing waste and toxins from the body, thereby enhancing overall recovery.

  4. Reduces core body temperature: Combat sports are physically demanding and can cause an increase in core body temperature, leading to heat-related issues and fatigue. Full body ice baths can help to rapidly decrease core body temperature, aiding in cooling down the body and preventing overheating. This can be especially beneficial for fighters who train in hot environments or participate in fights during warm weather conditions.

  5. Promotes mental relaxation and stress relief: Combat sports can be mentally and emotionally draining. Full body ice baths can provide a mental break, allowing fighters to relax, unwind, and de-stress. The shock of the cold water can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Immersing in icy cold water can also help to calm the mind and provide a sense of rejuvenation, preparing fighters mentally for their next training session or fight.

Full body immersion is key, as fighters use every muscle from their feet up to their necks for different aspects inside the sport. If you've ever went though a brutal kickboxing session, or a neck-wrenching BJJ session, you know just how much toll those sessions can take on you the next day.

Stepping into a cold plunge bath, such as the KAL Pod, can help you fully submerge yourself into the cold, and speed up that recovery process dramatically.

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