Boost Your Recovery With a Contrast Shower | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Boost Your Recovery With a Contrast Shower

December 9, 2012 | Raymond Tucker

Must See Training Videos

When you work out or play your sport, you put your muscles through a beating that can leave them fatigued and sore. To help improve recovery and alleviate muscle soreness, try taking a contrast shower post-activity. (Learn more about post-workout recovery.)

A contrast shower is simple. All you do is alternate between hot and cold water. The hot water dilates your blood vessels and increases blood circulation, and the cold water constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow. The contrast creates a pump effect that flushes your body of lactic acid and other toxins that build up during exercise.

It's best to take a contrast shower after a workout, practice or game; however, you can take one on off days as well. The cold water might be shocking at first, but you will soon adapt and learn to enjoy the changing temperatures.

How to take a recovery-boosting contrast shower

  1. Start with a hot shower (but not too hot; it should not burn) for 2 to 3 minutes
  2. Slowly turn down the water temperature from hot to cold
  3. Take a cold shower for 1 minute
  4. Repeat the hot and cold cycle for 5 to 10 minutes for optimal recovery
  5. Place the shower stream on any painful or sore areas for added relief

Click here to find out how to complete your recovery with a post-workout meal.

Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How Lolo Jones Got Lean After Bobsledding

WATCH: Clay Matthews Move the Earth in New Muscle Milk Ad

A Better Shortstop Workout

How to Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

WATCH: Jon 'Bones' Jones's Brutal Uphill Sprints

11 Strategies for Getting More Done During Your Workouts

The Comeback Kid: How Scott Kazmir Resurrected His MLB Career


3 Drills That Improve Agility for Baseball Infielders

Breaking Down Eddie Lacy's Untacklable Performance

31 Pro Athletes Workouts That Will Inspire You in 2015

Hanley Ramirez's Explosive Sled Row

Sanya Richards-Ross Looking Sharp in the Gym, Training for Rio

Jump Higher and Faster With Transitional Med Ball Box Jumps

Make the Most of Your Pre-season Training

Why CrossFit Is Perfect for Me

What's Up With Elite NBA Players Losing Weight?

Antonio Brown Built His Ridiculous Footwork With Pilates

31 Fitness Experts You Should Follow in 2015

Long Beach State's Double Play Tips for Shortstops

Make Your Training Weaknesses Your New Strengths

Preparation Nation: Hoover Buccaneers Basketball

WATCH: D.J. Campbell's Net Wall Explosive Pull-Up

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'

The 4-Day Deloading Plan for Recovery

Introducing Youth to Off-Ice Hockey Training

Why You Need to Follow the F.I.T.T. Principle

6 Things the Best Athletes Have in Common

Mark Teixeira Shares 4 Fielding Tips for First Basemen

Training Trash Bin: Dumbbell Side Bends

Above and Beyond: STACK Velocity Sports Performance San Diego

Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

Training With Performance Pyramids

GHD Sit-Up: The Worst CrossFit Exercise?

WATCH: 3 Power Moves for the Diamond from Edwin Encarnaci

5 Workout Lessons Every Athlete Must Learn

The Training Formula Behind Drew Brees's 5 TD Passes

WATCH: Darnell Dockett's Explosive Sled Row with Training Mask

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?


Katie Eberling: One Athlete, Many Sports

Inside the Athlete Factory

Kaitlin Sather Nielsen Does It All

7 Training Tips from Professional Triathlete Linsey Corbin

Baseball Fielding Drills for Quick Hands and Feet

Find Your Hidden Weaknesses

Improve Your Fielding Prowess with Two-Knee Drills

The Easiest Fixes for 4 Common Exercises

Athlete Assessment: Tips to Get You Started

6 Training Ideas Shaping the Future of Fitness

5 Infield Short Hop Drills