Have been taking cold showers for past month following a quick look at some Wim Hof stuff on the internet. Getting right into it and sometimes going twice a day for up to 5 min. Think that one of the key things is the shock element i.e. going from hot to cold quickly. Anyone any thoughts / experiences / protocols that are useful for recovery purposes???
I guess I don't know anything about it from a recovery standpoint. I have some interest in it from a mental and physical toughness point of view.
I read a letter to the editor in Rock and Ice where an anonymous Navy Seal would prepare himself for his initial tryouts for the program by filling a bathtub with ice water, getting in it, and keeping a thermometer in his mouth to mark the point where he became hypothermic so he could get out... and do it again when he warmed up.
When asking for recommendations on hiw to reduce instances of head and chest colds, I got thrown a fee recos to do the cold shower thing.
TBH I researched Wim Hoff and couldnt find enough evidence that I would bother experimenting with it.The logic to me oud be that you're just putting your body under more stress - how does that aid in recovery?
I don't know anything about Wim Hof other than seeing the name (?) thrown around some on YT fitness and soccer channels. I coach soccer and am trying to do soccer fitness and climbing at the same time, rather unsuccessfully. I know that a lot of pro soccer regimens swear by cold shower/ice baths immediately after a cool down after training or a game. I've done this a bit, but not in a measurable way. It does seem to help the legs recover quicker.
All that said, cold water directly on my lower back at any point is always torture. So maybe that helps a little with the mental side of climbing...pushing yourself into the uncomfortable?
In Extreme Alpinism, Mark Twight recommends "french" or "contrast" showers. You start at a normal temperature and gradually switch to cold over 2-3 min. Then, suddenly switch to hot water (really cook yourself), before gradually decreasing to ice cold again. Repeat 2-3 times. Always finish on cold.
It's like with all contrast recovery techniques. The idea is that the cold water constricts your blood vessels, then the sudden switch to hot opens them quickly, flushing out any waste products.
(If you look very closely on that Wikipedia page then there are a few other random things that induce PGC1alpha also!)
Not got to the stage of ice baths yet but just building things up gradually. Is fine with a progressive program: start with normal shower to wash and cleanse then do 30 sec cold at the end for a week, week after do a min then week after do 1 min 30 etc. Have done them for about 6 weeks now so going to have a week off as it's becoming a bit too normal, then planning on starting again week after.
The idea of the shock thing is that something that was originally a stressor to the body becomes something normal. The proposed link to everyday is that if you can cope with cold stressors without a jump in heart rate / adrenaline etc then this should carry over to lessening the bodies response to other stressors: work / long run outs etc...
Shall be back on the cold showers next week after a couple weeks off. Been away this week at a lodge with a hot tub to nicely soften myself up. First couple showers should prove interesting- think I'll be wearing my beanie...