You are now two weeks into the Wolf Pack 60 program and your muscles are starting to adapt, and grow stronger. You may start to see changes in your jumps, and sharpness as you go through your steps. You may also experience some soreness after some of the heavier workouts. For each workout we have included a warm-up and a cool down, which are essential to getting the most out of each workout. It can be hard at the end of a dance class or workout to make sure that you properly cool down as opposed to just collapsing on your couch, but with a proper cool down and recovery treatment, you will feel those benefits the next day!
Having rest days worked into your weekly routine is part of allowing your muscles to rebuild and grow stronger! On those rest days as you are feeling that muscle soreness from the day before, cold therapy is one of the greatest ways to relieve some of that and help speed up recovery time.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, Cold therapy or Cryotherapy refers to applying something cold to a source of pain. This can be ice packs, ice cups, or full immersion in a cold bath.
Ice baths offer the greatest benefits because it immerses the full surface area of your legs in cold therapy. Ice packs can only cover so much ground, whereas a cold bath can cover a larger section of your body.
How to create an ice bath:
1. Pick-up about 3 bags of ice from the store.
2. Fill your tub up about half way with cold water.
3. Throw the ice in the bathtub.
4. Set a timer for 15 minutes and hop in!
It will be intense and not super fun in the beginning, but as long as the water isn't moving, and you stay still, your skin starts to numb, and adapts to the temperature. Stick with it for the 15 minutes to see the full benefits! Bring a book with you, put on some music while your in to distract you. Those 15 minutes can also be a great time to think about your goals, and your overall progress. Take a little time to clear your head and gear up for the next day!
Here are a few dos and donts of cold therapy according to Andy Schmitz at active.com:
1. DON'T Ice before a workout: Icing will numb your nerve endings, which may mask any pain that might be an indicator to slow down or stop a movement.
2. DO Apply Ice as soon as you are done: The sooner you ice the faster you will see benefits. As much as you may want to just go home and go to bed after night of dance classes, it's important that you take the time to recover to see the full benefits of that workout. Ice quickly will reduce swelling and in turn, reduce pain.
3. DON'T Ice for more than 20 minutes: Icing for too long can have the opposite affect, and be a risk for frost bite, so make sure you set a timer before you hop in your ice bath. Never ice for more than 20 minutes.
4. DO Ice for at least 10 minutes: Ideally, you want to ice for 15-20 minutes to see the greatest benefits. Applying ice for less than 10 minutes will only cool the skin, but not give you the vasorestriction to reduce swelling and pain.
5. DON'T just ice once and hope for the best: If your muscles are very sore, you need to ice every day. You have to stick with it, just like your workout program, icing is part of the process! If icing is still not helping your pain, that's when you need to see a doctor. Knowing the difference between soreness and hurt is very important as you are training.
6. DO Ice more than once per day: With an acute injury you can do ice cycling (15 minutes ice, 45 minutes rest, 15 minutes ice, 45 minutes rest... etc.). You need to allow your skin to warm back up, but ice cycling can also help speed up the recovery process.