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Daily Maintenance: Contrast Showers

February 21, 2013

What is your daily maintenance like?  Many of us have foam rollers, click sticks, stomach lacrosse balls, prostate rubber bands and more.  Do you use that stuff everyday?  Could you truly call it “daily maintenance?” I know I can’t.  As the Open approaches, you may find the intensity of your training increases.  You may get more sore than normal.  You want to be smart and diligent about your recovery to maximize your performance.

There is a recovery tool I use everyday – a contrast shower.  Basically, I cycle through the hottest water I can get, then the coldest water I can get.  I cycle back and forth, allowing sore body parts to feel the change from hot to cold or cold to hot.  I aim for 2 minutes of hot water, then 1 minute of cold.  I try to go through 3 to 4 cycles of this, or about a 10 minute shower.  I have written about this before, and I first learned about contrast showers from John Welbourn’s blog, Talk To Me Johnny.  My understanding of the contrast was to start with hot water and always finish with cold.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  I have recently read it’s a good idea to start and finish with cold water.  This is not as fun as it sounds, especially in the winter.

I am a big believer in ice baths and the power of cold water for recovery.  I have taken this to the seemingly extreme, using ice baths in the house after Open WOD 12.4 last year. I got the shower super hot, and followed that by submerging in 20 pounds of ice and water.  This is about as fun as it sounds.  I think Alison has pictures of this…

I was told by a buddy (named Buddy) that Josh Bridges, who finished 2nd in the Games in 2011, takes an epsom salt bath every night, no matter what.

Confessions of a CrossFit Coach: How to Optimize Your Recovery


My bathtub after 12.4 last year.  I hate that you can’t see the ice that well.  I have a picture of me in there in my undies, but I ain’t posting it

Workout of the Day



Run 800m

50 Back Extensions (Supermans)

50 Situps

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