As I go through training I will pick up little tricks and tools from all over the place. Sometimes I watch a video, read an article, or someone says to me “Hey have you tried…” So I figured, if I like any of these suggestions a lot and feel that they work well, I should share them on The Strength Agenda. This is going to be an ongoing section but I think you will be able to take some or all of these products or suggestions and use them to help you with your training.
So I know some of you take Epsom salt baths. I myself prefer an ice bath but I have started to incorporate more Epsom salt baths into my recovery routine. The way I train at MDUSA is we have two training sessions a day. The best way for me to recover and loosen up without taking a lot of time to do so is a hot Epsom salt bath. I can sit in a tub for about 20 minutes and just relax and let my muscles soak in the hot solution in the tub. Now this is not a cure all and some people may not like this at all and that’s fine. I am just letting you know that, in my opinion, an Epsom salt bath is a quick relaxing way to loosen up and recover after a tough training session/competition or between training sessions.
Epsom salt baths and their various mixtures have some benefits to the human body in terms of recovery. The main ingredient in there is magnesium sulfate. This compound is absorbed by the body and helps relieves, tight muscles, aches, pains, bruises, and has even been known as a good treatment for poison ivy. It can be ingested and used as a laxative but I do not recommend that (it tastes just awful no matter what you mix it in). This compound is absorbed by the body easier in warm water and the body uses magnesium sulfate to repair muscles and nerves. Again this is not a wonder fix and will not treat severe injuries but it will help speed up the recovery process when done on a regular basis. Before you start pouring Epsom salt into your bath make sure you read the package and check for any medical conditions you may have that can cause complications.
I have been trying all different brands of Epsom salt and never found one that quite did the trick. Then my wife was looking on Amazon the other day and she stumbled upon this stuff called Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution for Recovery & Relief. Now I know you can find the regular stuff at the store but the kind we found and bought a few bags that also included Rosemary and Mint oils in the salt. This is the key for me, when I put a few scoops in the water the aroma from the oils immediately fills the bathroom and that is what relaxes me the most. I have also read about Russian Weightlifters who would sit in a sauna and put various oils on the coals open up their airways and relax any tension they had. I am imagining the oil combined with the salt does the exact same thing. When I take my bath I run hot water (not warm or barely stand it hot, but hot as you would find in a hot tub) and then put about 5 half cup scoops of this in there. I sit for about twenty minutes and when I get out I feel loose and limber and ready fro my next training session. If I am feeling particularly beat on any certain day I will run one of these before I go to bed and I fall right asleep.
This is not the end all be all on recovery. Just like all of our other articles it’s simply another tool you can include in your arsenal to make you a better athlete and recover better from each training session. I wouldn’t suggest this stuff unless I believed it really worked. I am also not endorsed by any product that I suggest, I simply use what works and hope that there are other people that a certain product can help. So if you think an Epsom salt bath may be something you want to include check out Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soaking Solution Therapy & Relief with Rosemary and Mint. This stuff is only $6 for 3 pounds, so it’s a great deal. I tend to keep 9-12 pounds stocked in my bathroom. If you feel good there is no reason NOT to train good right?
What works best for you? An oils or Epsom salts you prefer?