Whats better, cold or hot bath ?

After a track work ( any kind of work; speed endurance, speed work, starts, accel, etc…) or weight exercises, what is the better way to reduce muscle pain ?
Hot bath or cold bath ?
A friend of mine, player soccer, said that after his training session, a hot bath in bathtub is good to relax the muscles and keeps the pain far away…
It is true ?
This week, i played some soccer in a hard surface and my shins was killing me ( i think soleus pain ) after that i went to pool ( not hot neither cold water ) and the pain goes off.
Theres a rule or each case is each case ?

A general rule is if it beats you up then go cold (e.g. ice bath), if it’s general tempo/recovery stuff then go warm (e.g. salts)

Hard to go past this site for recovery information.


This is a good article on ice baths.

It must be going on 18 months now that the author opened my eyes to the importance of this type of recovery. I can assure you, it really does work.

All right DC,
i´m gonna read right now those articles,
tk u

Christ Dcw23,

Now I got to write a hotbath article and therapy timing post! After Reading Speed trap I have been trying to explain why things help and how to enhance what charlie has seen work.

I know its probably more complex than this but dont ice baths right after an intensive workout aid in recovery because the intense workout causes muscular breakdown and inflamation, and the cold puts down the inflamation, allowing the body to go into a repairing stage earlier because the inflamation has subsidided due to the ice bath? And the hot bath goes wiell with the low intensity tempo work because it relaxes muscle and improves blood circulation helping to heal muscles?

you got it!

so where do hot and cold showers fit into it?

if i remember correctly contrast showers are used not immediately after workouts, but something like two hours or more after?

contrast showers however are more for nervous system recovery than musclualr recovery i believe… correct?

thats the idea i have also, but im saying that their done a while after a workout ends right?

I use contrast showers as soon as possible, the pumping affect really works on removeing any waste products and also brings in fresh nutriant rich blood.

I do 10 to 15 min in cold bath and then do contrast showers! As soon as possible agter the session.

When you´re saing “Cold” bath may i understand like “ambient” temperature ?
about 18 degrees ?
or only Ice bath ? ( with ice cubes )

As cold as your tap, now my water tank is in the loft so its very cold (esp this time of year) but I do add cubes so that the temp is around 33degrees f (thats usually cold enough for me) but some in my group have it warmer.

The principle is still the same as though you were using ice Esp duration wise to attain CIVC fully, 5 minutes just isnt long enough.

Clemson recommends 40-50degrees F for 15min+. I don’t think it’s even possible to take a cold bath in 18degree water without turning into a popsicle! :stuck_out_tongue:

I think he ment degree c and not f.
But 40-50 doesnt feel cold enough for me!

his right,
18º C not F
i´m not a Penguin

ok i hear that… i go in the cold for 15 minutes at 50-55 C

I tend to use a contrast shower about 30 minutes after I finish my cooldown.

Does it work, don’t know, but how sore and tight am I the next day I think I would infinitely worse without.

I think Clemson actually suggests extending the time upto 30minutes for normal athletes and longer for bigger (fatter) athletes.

Celsius Quik!

Contrast showers can be used before Tempo as part a CNS facilitator.