“An athlete’s body adapts to recovery methods just as it does to word load. That’s why it is good to modify the means and methods as well as how often they are performed, by combining and varying them.” – F. Talyschjov
Recovery is an essential phase in the training process. If swimmers want to maintain their performance ability and not run the risk of using up their energy reserves, then they must follow recovery and regeneration aspects closely. Various techniques are proposed by coaches: active recovery, good hydration and a suitable diet, stretches, sauna, massage baths, electrotherapy, compression stockings, sleep and cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy is a method that has been around since ancient times and has developed significantly in recent years in the world of sports. With training work loads becoming heavier and heavier, recovery is vital for athletes training up to twice a day and taking part in competitions. To encourage recovery of muscle function after effort, swimmers should follow some basic rules when immersing themselves in cold water.
“The recommended temperature is 10°C. In terms of duration, there are different protocols depending on whether the treatment is carried out in intervals or over one unbroken period of time.For treatment in intervals, swimmers do either 5 times 20sec/20sec or 3 times 30sec/30sec, always ending with cold water. For treatment over one unbroken period, swimmers should, in theory, do 8-10 minutes. In practise, however, it’s rare to see swimmers last that long. Usually they last 2-3 minutes bearing in mind that the first minute is the most difficult”, explains Loic Le Blevennec, masseur and physiotherapist for En Avant de Guingamp football club (French top division club and winners of the French cup in 2014).
The cryotherapy procedure helps reduce tiredness, speed up recovery of muscle function, benefit from improved sleep quality and acts on muscle micro-traumas.