2014 study finds ice baths not detrimental and possibly helpful to elite cyclists

Selena McLeod

A 2014 study compared elite cyclists after three weeks of intense training with and without ice baths, and found that ice baths didn't hurt their performance but possibly helped. The study was published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and carried out by researchers from Australia and New Zealand. It investigated whether ice baths were detrimental to long-term performance by impairing adaptation to training. The researchers compared the effects of ice baths with the effects of passive rest on cycling performance during a simulated cycling grand tour. Thirty-four male highly trained competitive cyclists participated in the study.  The study consisted of seven days of baseline training,...

About ice baths and cold therapy

Selena McLeod

The science behind how ice baths promote faster recovery is largely based on how cold therapy treats acute injuries. As background, the body’s response to an injury has two stages: primary injury and secondary injury.  Primary injury is the tissue damage from the initial trauma. Secondary injury is the cell death caused by a blockage of the oxygen supply to the injured area. If a cell’s oxygen supply is cut off, it dies. Dead cells release their contents into the surrounding area. The presence of these substances causes an inflammatory reaction to occur which clogs blood vessels and causes further cell death. Cold therapy...

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