Ice isn’t just for keeping your beer cold at summer barbeques, it’s also one of the best ways to help your muscles recover after a tough workout and prevent injuries the next time you hit the gym. “The quality of tomorrow’s workout is dependent on the recovery from today’s,” says Steve Kostorowski owner of Water Street Gym and private strength coach to NBA stars Stephen Curry and Chris Paul. “Ice works best for injury, pain relief, and increasing range of motion. And the more compliant my clients are with their icing regimens, the more success they see.”
If you’re working out intensely three or four times a week, celebrity trainer and boxer Hino Ehikhamenor recommends icing after every session. If you’re participating in a contact sport like MMA, football or kickboxing, he suggests also icing on off-days to reduce the swelling associated with those activities.
We know what you’re thinking, I would ice that often but I don’t have time to sit around. And that’s OK. Devices like HyperIce, a high-performance ice compression unit, fit to your body and allow you to walk around, drive or tend to emails while treating a specific area.
Here are six more simple ways to ice. Just remember, whatever method you choose, stick to no more than 10 minutes of cold therapy at a time, and always opt for real ice over gels or synthetic ice packs, advises HyperIce founder Anthony Katz.
110%: This line of compression clothing, which includes everything from socks to quad sleeves, is outfitted with pockets that hold refillable ice packs close to muscles for hands-free icing on the go.
Water Bottle: Freeze water in a regular plastic bottle to create an ice foam roller. Place it under your foot and roll it back and forth to relieve pain from plantar fasciitis and other foot aches.
Paper Cup: Fill a cup with water, place it in the freezer, and wait for the water to freeze. Unwrap the top part of the cup so some ice is exposed. Rub the ice over your swollen joint for an inexpensive ice massage.
Trashcan: You’ve seen athletes hanging out in high-tech cold tubs filled with ice. Well, now you can do the same. A metal trashcan works better than your tub because it’s easier to fill with ice and will conduct the cold temperature better. Just make sure it’s clean and you have someone to help you get out of the can.
Whole-Body Cryotherapy: It might be a few years before these things become mainstream, but we still think the idea’s pretty cool. For three minutes, stand inside a cryochamber that is chilled to -166 degrees to target your entire body in one blast. Just be careful not to stay in too long or you may wake up in the year 2070.