Icing Your Power & Performance

Ouch! Careful as you are about lifting too heavy and overtraining, it can still happen. A sore muscle can strike at any time. Best thing to do is apply an ice pack as soon as possible. A study recently published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research shows the short-term effect that act has on performance.

Scientists applied ice to the hamstring muscles of 42 volunteers. The treatments lasted either 10 minutes or just 3 minutes. Those experiencing the longer period application displayed decreased power and functional performance for up to 20 minutes following the treatment. The shorter application of ice did not affect power or performance in any way.

The Bigger Picture: If you're a professional athlete who makes a living on the field of play, this research may be useful for effectively dealing with a minor pull or sprain. Anyone else would be well advised to end their training and take the rest of the day off. Although it's possible to train or play around injuries, it's probably a better idea to consider how and why the injury occurred, and make adjustments to your workout accordingly.
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