Remember cooling vests? How about ice baths after workouts?

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

It looks like this is going to be a chilly post…

Do you remember cooling vests? I seem to recall them first coming to prominence around the time of the Athens Olympics in 2004. With the hot marathons, the American marathon teams used them with good results. Were the results pure coincidence or was there a connection? Likely, some of both.

I still see them being used at times in pre-competition settings, especially when it’s going to be warm during the competition. The theory makes sense. Lower your core temperature and you’ll perform better.

While the vests work, maybe they would be even better off using cooling pants.

Findings indicate that torso and thigh precooling during a warm-up reduces thermoregulatory strain. However, thigh opposed to torso precooling provides greater performance improvements.

Remember ice baths after workouts?

Some time ago, I wrote a post that, along with other topics, at least referenced the idea that ice baths may not be as good as we once thought.

Well, now we have more evidence.

Local muscle endurance increased in both groups, but the increase in the cooled group tended to be lower compared to the noncooled group. Regular post-exercise cold application to muscles might attenuate muscular and vascular adaptations to resistance training.

Based on what I have seen, if I even did have convenient access to ice baths, I’d be seriously thinking twice about using them after my workouts. I’m surely not going to be going out to seek out ways to get an ice bath in.

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