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Dive into Recovery: Ice Baths vs. Saunas – Swimming Recovery Tips

Swimming is a demanding sport that requires not only physical strength and endurance but also effective recovery practices. Whether you're a competitive swimmer aiming for the Olympics, an avid marathon swimmer, or someone who enjoys open water swims, understanding how to recover properly is crucial. In this post, we'll explore two popular recovery methods: ice baths and saunas. We'll help you decide which one might be best for you and introduce you to our comprehensive Swimming Strength & Performance Program, which includes access to these recovery tools.

Recovery Ice Baths for Swimmers – Tips For The Chilly Choice

Ice baths have been a staple in the recovery routines of elite swimmers for years. Athletes like Michael Phelps have sworn by their effectiveness in reducing muscle soreness and speeding up recovery times. The process is straightforward: immerse yourself in an ice bath for 10-15 minutes after a training session. The cold water helps to constrict blood vessels, which can reduce inflammation and help your muscles recover more quickly.

Benefits of Ice Baths:

  • Reduces Muscle Soreness: The cold water helps to reduce inflammation and muscle pain.

  • Speeds Up Recovery: By constricting blood vessels, ice baths can help to flush out waste products from your muscles.

  • Easy to Implement: All you need is a bathtub, cold water, and ice.

Quick Tip: Fill your bathtub with cold water and a few bags of ice, then immerse yourself up to your neck. Take deep breaths and relax – it’s all about reducing that post-swim fatigue.

Recovery Saunas for Swimmers –Tips For Turning Up the Heat

On the other end of the temperature spectrum, saunas offer a warm and relaxing way to aid muscle recovery. Saunas are particularly popular in Scandinavian countries, where they are a traditional part of athletic recovery routines. The heat from a sauna can help to relax muscles, improve blood flow, and promote overall relaxation.

Benefits of Saunas:

  • Relaxes Muscles: The heat helps to ease muscle tension and improve flexibility.

  • Improves Blood Flow: Increased blood circulation can help to deliver more oxygen to muscles, aiding in recovery.

  • Promotes Mental Relaxation: Saunas provide a serene environment to unwind and de-stress.

Quick Tip: If you have access to a sauna, spend 10-15 minutes inside after your swim. Drink plenty of water and enjoy the relaxation.

The Best of Both Worlds: Recovery Tips For Ice Baths and Saunas For Swimmers

Interestingly, some elite swimmers use both ice baths and saunas as part of their recovery routine. They might start with an ice bath to tackle inflammation and then head to the sauna to relax and recover. This hot-and-cold recovery cocktail can leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for your next swim.

Which Recovery Method Should You Choose?

Both ice baths and saunas offer unique benefits:

  • Ice Baths: Ideal for quick recovery and reducing muscle soreness. Perfect after intense training sessions.

  • Saunas: Great for relaxing and easing muscle tension. Excellent for mental relaxation too.

Try both and see what works best for you. You might find that a mix of both gives you the ultimate recovery experience.

Enhance Your Recovery with Our Swimming Strength & Performance Program

At Formidable Strength & Conditioning, we not only focus on enhancing your physical strength and swimming performance but also ensure you have access to the best recovery tools. Our Swimming Strength & Performance Program provides:

  • Ice Baths: Perfect for post-training recovery.

  • Recovery Guide: Comprehensive tips and techniques to optimize your recovery.

  • Sauna Access: Relax and rejuvenate after intense swimming sessions.

Conclusion - Swimming Recovery Tips Hot or Cold

Whether you prefer the invigorating chill of an ice bath or the soothing warmth of a sauna, incorporating these recovery practices into your routine can significantly enhance your swimming performance.

Join our Swimming Strength & Performance Program to gain access to these recovery tools and elevate your training to the next level.

Stay cool (and warm), and happy swimming!


Q: How often should I use ice baths for recovery?

A: It's generally recommended to use ice baths after particularly intense training sessions or competitions. This can vary based on individual recovery needs and training intensity.

Q: Can I use a sauna every day?

A: Yes, many athletes use saunas daily as part of their recovery routine. However, it's important to stay hydrated and listen to your body.

Q: How can I join the Swimming Strength & Performance Program?

A: Visit our website or contact us at for more information and to sign up.

For more swimming tips and recovery techniques, visit Formidable Strength & Conditioning and subscribe to our newsletter.

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