If you beat yourself up training like I do, you are going to love this article. A great way to reduce muscle soreness is with contrast showers. I am a huge believer in the healing properties of the cold. I frequently use ice directly on inflamed or injured parts of my body. I love ice baths, but it’s rare that I can find a trough big enough to hold me. So I started taking contrast showers and am very pleased with the results.

The first thing we need to discuss is how to take a contrast shower. There are varying opinions on this, so I will share what has worked for me. Before you begin, you’ll need some sort of timer. I have a stopwatch hung in my shower for this. Keeping time is important because you need to be in the hot water at least twice as long as the cold. You start with hot water and then switch to cold. This will be done for three rounds. Each time I make the hot, hotter and the cold, colder. By the last round I can barely stand in the heat and am begging for the cold. It is important to always end with cold water. After the shower, briskly rub your body with a towel to warm up.

The duration of these showers can vary. After a really grueling training session I’ll go three minutes in the hot water to one minute of cold. If you need a quick fix you can go one minute hot and thirty seconds cold. The quick sessions are good after things like a light workout, cardio, and conditioning. They are also helpful for stress relief and even as an invigorating wakeup in the morning.

Contrast showers offer many benefits. Alternating between the hot and cold water improves circulation. This can help reduce muscle soreness by moving lactic acid out of the muscle. Some people also think this type of shower can help detoxify the body and improve the immune system.

As I have gotten older, I realize how important recuperation is to my training. Contrast showers have been a part of my program for a while now. I only wish I knew about them when I was younger. I take them for all the varying reasons I stated above. I know they work because if I fail to take one, especially after a really hard workout, I’ll pay for it the next day. Try them in your program, and you’ll be glad you did; well, after you’re done shivering you will.