Sauna + cold shower

Charlie was big on using contrast showers and I believe his protocol was 3 minutes hot followed by 1 minute cold, all repeated for 3 cycles.
What about applying this protocol to the sauna?
Such as, 3 minutes (or more maybe?) in the sauna followed by 1 minute cold shower for 3 cycles. Would this be as effective?
I absolutely dread contrast showers, whereas I love the sauna. I’m thinking that the dread of the contrast shower raises my cortisol so much that it’s hindering the positive effects!

I’m sure that would work.

For sure you can use the sauna but accourding to how we were trained ideally you need to lay down, with knees up and put a cool towel over your head making sure the back of your neck is cool. Sauna’s can really suck the life out of you so you need to be careful in a way that is different than the properties of how water works. As for cortisol , pain for sure raises your levels and I believe some people do not benefit from hot and colds the way others do. Ben did them but hated them and I can’t say that I know of Lindford or Desia or many of the Carribean guys if I could steriotype. Don’t forget that most of these athletes had a multitude of therapies at their disposal towards their late careers and massage was the primary thing done by Charlie early on.
One reason I am an big promoter of hot and colds? They really work for me and I have needed them in a big way to keep my back loose due to almost one inch leg difference. But my tissue is different than anothers and my ancestory is from more northern climate etc and well I also believe that regeneration is as individual as ones response to training methodology.

Joel at 8weeksout recently posted an article on sauna techniques he’s employed on his athletes adapted from literature and conversation with those from the former USSR

Thanks for the replies.
Angela, thats interesting regarding laying down with the knees up. I’ll implement it next time. I know what you mean in how saunas can make you feel lethargic, if your not careful you can be sweating for the whole day after one!

James, that article was a great read. It’s amazing how a specified routine in the sauna can affect recovery differently than by just going in and “relaxing” in there like most people do. Going to try it out soon and report back.
I have been reading supertraining recently and it states that taking a sauna immediately after training actually has a negative effect, and that the most effective time to take one is 6 hours and especially 9 hours after the training session. Thoughts?

Generally speaking, heat is always contraindicated immediately post-training because it will only exacerbate any swelling/edema that is resultant of the micro-trauma yielded to the tissues from the training itself

Experimenting a bit over the years I really came to like alternating very short exposures to hot and cold showers (10 to 15 seconds each at the most) for a total of 3 to 5 minutes upon waking up or after workout depending on goals. A stopwatch and two adiacent showers running at the same time are needed for best results. One as hot as tolerated,one as cold as the acqueduct allows. Always end with cold exposure.

There are 3 main considerations to be borne in mind - not simply what someone thinks is the ‘best’ type…

  • Type of session just completed
  • Athlete Type/Status
  • Adaptation Aim

I still think one day you may want to write about what we saw in and about the cryo sauna…I’ll be in Cardiff next Friday.