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Gibbs’s guide to water recovery

With the TeamUp 20 Day Challenge coming to an end yesterday, there’s sure to be some sore bodies around town.

Recovery is a crucial part of any fitness plan, and an element that’s often not discussed in as much detail as training programs or diets.

There’s an infinite amount of methods of recovery, but one of the best is still a good, old fashioned salt-water recovery at the beach.

And while Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs will no doubt spend some time in the water this morning following last night’s match against Collingwood, the midfielder says water plays a bigger role in both recovery and preparation than many realise.

“It’s not something I do religiously, but I do ice baths before games sometimes.” – Bryce Gibbs

“Just through the week, I’ll often jump in the pool and do some stretching for ten minutes, then jump in the spa for ten minutes, then jump out in the ocean for ten minutes,” Gibbs explains.

“That helps with my mobility and helps me loosen up a bit. It gets the muscles moving, gets the blood flowing and makes my muscles and legs feel fresher. It helps leading into a light session the next day and allows me to be cherry ripe for the weekend.”

Incorporating water into fitness regimes is becoming increasingly common around football clubs.

“We’ve got great facilities at the club, which we’re pretty much using every time we’re there,” he says.

“We’ll do a hydro session or something after training and we’re always in the water. Whether we’re doing stretching or even if it’s just wading in a hot spa just relaxing, we’re always in there.”

Gibbs explains warm water and cold water can have very different effects on the body. While warm water can help you relax, there are times when it can be detrimental to preparation and recovery.

“Having a spa before the game might dehydrate you a bit, so we tend to stay away from the warm stuff until after the game,” Gibbs says.

“Even then, warm baths can be good after a game to help with aches, but it’s not good if you cop a knock or a corky or anything because it can increase the blood flow to your corky.

“But if you don’t have any serious knocks or anything it’s definitely good to loosen up in and relax.”

For many players, sleeping the night of a game can prove incredibly difficult. With that in mind, warm baths can prove very useful.

“A warm bath definitely helps you unwind after a match,” Gibbs admits, particularly when Radox bath crystals come into the equation.

“I find a Radox bath probably helps a bit better than a spa. They help me sleep pretty well.”

Unfortunately, the effects of ice baths outweigh those of warm ones. No players enjoy ice baths, but Gibbs has no doubt they can have a positive influence on his performance.

“I do ice baths before games sometimes,” he admits.

“It’s not something I do religiously, but if I feel a bit heavy in the legs I’ll jump into the ice bath a couple of hours before the game and it will help me freshen up a bit.”

In an age in which many question the role sports-science has to play in elite sport, it’s comforting to know that water remains one of the best remedies available.