Recovery Methods – The Sauna
- 07-14-2011, 04:09 PM
Recovery Methods – The Sauna
In this article series, I’ll be profiling some of the different recovery/regeneration methods that I’ve tested and used over the years to speed up recovery. I think there is quite a bit of confusion out there about what works and what doesn’t work and without the use of heart rate variability to measure response to the various methods, most people are just guessing so I can see why.
The reality is that there are a lot of different methods that can be used, but there is no one single recovery method that works all the time for everyone or should always be used. Each method I’ll outline in this article series has a specific use and can be used very effectively when performed as described. I’ve tested each and every one of them over many years with the Omegawave and have been able to precisely measure its role and impact on recovery as a whole.
In this first article, I’ll be giving you one of my favorite recovery methods: the sauna.
Not Just For Making Weight
Although the sauna has been used over the years mostly for dropping those last few extra pounds of water weight, I’ve found that it’s best use is really for recovery/regeneration. The exact method I’ll outline below is one that I was first told about by a former Russian coach and athlete.
He said they used it with many of their athletes and found it to be effective during periods of intense training. I’ve been using it myself and with athletes I train for over ten years now and all I can say is that he was right. I’ve made a few modifications here and there over the years, but the core of the method is still the same.
Using the sauna for recovery is most effective during periods of parasympathetic overreaching. If you have no idea what that means, check out the article series on Tim Boetch’s training for his last fight. You wouldn’t really want to use it if you’re sympathetically overworked as it wouldn’t really be of much help. Some of the symptoms of parasympathetic overreaching/overtraining are: general lethargy, lack of motivation to train, drop in morning resting heart rates and lowered heart rates during training, excessive sleep, etc.
The sauna works because it provides a very mild sympathetic stimulus that essentially triggers the body’s adaptive mechanims without really placing much physical stress on the body itself. It’s akin to jump starting a car really, it gets things going. This is pretty much how all recovery/regeneration techniques work for the most part.
Using The Sauna the Right Way
To get the most ouf of the sauna method, you have to be pretty specific in how you go about using it. Just hopping in for a few minutes and then getting out probably won’t do a whole lot for you and is mostly a waste of time.
You also want to make sure that you’re using a dry sauna for this method, not a steam room, wet sauna, or infrared sauna and the hotter you can get it, the better – preferably over 200 degrees. I’ve got an old Finnish sauna made by Helo (the one featured in the picture above) in my condo and it’s absolutely ideal. If you find one of those you’re in luck, but if not any good dry sauna that gets very hot will work.
Next, you also need a shower close by to really do the method correctly. Fortunately, most saunas tend to be in locker rooms or near a shower anyway so it shouldn’t be an issue. Assuming you have a dry sauna that gets very hot and a nearby shower, you’ve got everything you need to use the sauna to promote recovery so you can keep training or get back to it.
I most often recommend and prefer to use methods such as the sauna either towards the end of an intense training cycle when I want to promote recovery and regeneration as I take the athlete out of the loading phase, or whenever I see an athlete is moving too far towards overtraining. I personally don’t believe in using these types of methods all the time as I believe that you need to overload an athlete/individual to force adaptation and if you are constantly trying to promote recovery all the time, there is a point where you will be losing this benefits of the loading.
It’s also very important to note that if you overuse a recovery method and try to do it all the time, it will lose its effectiveness. I like to rotate recovery methods and use different ones depending on the athlete and the situation. You can use the sauna for a week or two at a time and then use something else the next time you need to promote recovery. Don’t overdo it or just like anything else, your body will become accusomted to it and it won’t have the same effect.
The Ultimate Sauna Recovery Method
To perform the method correctly and get the most out of it, make sure to follow these specific guidelines as close as possible:
- Pre-heat the sauna to the highest temperature possible, at least 200 degrees is preferable
- Begin by getting in the sauna and stay in until you first break a sweat and then get out
- Rinse off for 5-10 seconds in luke warm water and then get out of the shower, pat yourself off, wrap a towel around yourself and then sit down for 2-3 minutes
- Get back in the sauna and stay in for 5-10 minutes. The original method calls for staying in until 150 drops of sweat have dripped off your face, but I’ve found for most people this is 5-10 minutes
- Take another shower, this time make it as cold as possible and stay in it for 30 seconds. It’s most important to let the water cover your head comletely the whole time
- Get out of the shower, pat yourself dry, wrap a towel around yourself, and sit down and relax until you stop sweating completely and your skin is dry. This typically takes anywhere from 3-10 minutes
- Return to the sauna, this time stay in for 10-15 minutes and then get out
- Repeat step 5-6
- Get back in the sauna for another 10-15 minutes and then get out
- Take another shower, this time make it fairly warm and stay in for 1-2 minutes
- Dry yourself completely off, lay down and relax for 5-10 minutes
I found this article and thought it was pretty interested, gonna try it in about an hour So thought I would share This is for all you MMA fighters looking for new recovery methods, saw it on 8weeksout.comCore Nutritionals Representative
- 07-16-2011, 02:24 AM
Anyone ever give this a try?
I tried it Thursday, I felt it did help increase recovery, but this morning I did a boxng workout and felt like my cardio was down, all tho it's hard for me to judge this because my coach burned me out with running and sprint ciruits before putting me through my boxing workout.... I will try it again next week.
Anyone else try something like this or any other recovery techniques?Core Nutritionals Representative
07-16-2011, 07:04 AM
I've tried dry saunas / steam rooms not sure how much they help with recovery but I sure feel better and more relaxed
Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
07-16-2011, 08:46 AM
I think it's a terrible idea because you're just depleting your body of fluid and electrolytes. 15 minutes of full body stretching and a little yoga would do much more for the muscul-skeletal system.
M.Ed. Ex Phys
07-16-2011, 11:02 AM
I was also looking into Ice baths after morning training sessions, if your doing another hard training session at night. Have you ever tried ice baths Rodja?
Core Nutritionals Representative
07-16-2011, 12:43 PM
07-16-2011, 02:04 PM
"Short term effects of various water immersions on recovery from exhaustive intermittent exercise".
Pournot Herve, Bieuzen Francois, Duffield Rob, Lepretre Pierre-Marie, Cozzolino Christophe, Hausswirth Christophe.
European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011. 111(7), 1287-1295.
In order to investigate the effectiveness of different techniques of water immersion recovery on maximal strength, power and the post-exercise inflammatory response in elite athletes, 41 highly trained (Football, Rugby, Volleyball) male subjects (age = 21.5 ± 4.6 years, mass = 73.1 ± 9.7 kg and height = 176.7 ± 9.7 cm) performed 20 min of exhaustive, intermittent exercise followed by a 15 min recovery intervention. The recovery intervention consisted of different water immersion techniques, including: temperate water immersion (36°C; TWI), cold water immersion (10°C; CWI), contrast water temperature (10–42°C; CWT) and a passive recovery (PAS). Performances during a maximal 30-s rowing test (P30 s), a maximal vertical counter-movement jump (CMJ) and a maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) of the knee extensor muscles were measured at rest (Pre-exercise), immediately after the exercise (Post-exercise), 1 h after (Post 1 h) and 24 h later (Post 24 h). Leukocyte profile and venous blood markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)) were also measured Pre-exercise, Post 1 h and Post 24 h. A significant time effect was observed to indicate a reduction in performance (Pre-exercise vs. Post-exercise) following the exercise bout in all conditions (P < 0.05). Indeed, at 1 h post exercise, a significant improvement in MVC and P30 s was respectively observed in the CWI and CWT groups compared to pre-exercise. Further, for the CWI group, this result was associated with a comparative blunting of the rise in total number of leucocytes at 1 h post and of plasma concentration of CK at 24 h post. The results indicate that the practice of cold water immersion and contrast water therapy are more effective immersion modalities to promote a faster acute recovery of maximal anaerobic performances (MVC and 30″ all-out respectively) after an intermittent exhaustive exercise. These results may be explained by the suppression of plasma concentrations of markers of inflammation and damage, suggesting reduced passive leakage from disrupted skeletal muscle, which may result in the increase in force production during ensuing bouts of exercise.
07-17-2011, 12:54 AM
07-19-2011, 01:45 AM
doing my own thang!
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