Why Do Boxers Take Ice Baths?

By Logan •  Updated: 01/11/22 •  4 min read

Boxers take ice baths to speed up and improve their recovery process. Anyone who has watched a boxing match before knows how physically intense the sport of boxing is. A boxer will take an ice bath immediately after a match or after a training session to help minimise some of the physical damage done to their bodies.

Many athletes, including boxers, like using ice baths and there is plenty of science behind this practice to support their use. Learn more about his popular practice in the following article. 

Why Do Boxers Take Ice Baths

What Are The Benefits Of Boxers Taking Ice Baths?

There are many physical benefits, and possibly even mental benefits for boxers if they incorporate ice baths into their post-match recovery sessions. An ice bath can help to minimize the pain that a boxer will no doubt be feeling straight after a match. The ice will numb nerve endings and can assist in reducing pain caused by heavy punches.

An ice bath will also assist in reducing muscle pain that is felt later on, due to extended muscle use. Swelling and soreness can be combated by the ice as it helps to slow down blood flow around the body. Ice baths will also assist in removing lactic acid build up from the muscles and this will ensure that muscle soreness and fatigue is minimized. 

There is a possibility that ice baths may even benefit your mental health. For example, it could improve your alertness. The low temperatures might also improve your mood and help to clear your mind. Some people use ice baths to work on and improve their breathing technique. In this instance an ice bath could be used before a match, rather than afterwards.

How Long Do Boxers Sit In Ice Baths?

The length of time a boxer spends in an ice bath will vary. It could be as few as five minutes, or as long as an hour. Generally, minutes 5 – 10 minutes is a good period of time to spend in the bath. If someone is new to using an ice bath, they should start slowly, maybe only 5 minutes in the water. They can build up gradually as their body becomes accustomed to it. 

You do not have to use ice to still reap the benefits. Cold water straight from the tap can still help the body in its recovery after a boxing match. Also, you don’t have to be fully naked. You can wear a beanie, wetsuit booties on your feet, or even a pair of shorts. The muscles that need it the most are still going to be fully exposed to the cold water.

Can An Ice Bath Be Bad For A Boxer’s Health?

Using an ice bath could be detrimental to a boxer’s health, which is why they should always be used with care. Everyone knows that prolonged exposure to extreme cold can lead to hyperthermia, and ice baths are no different. This is why the ice bath should be no colder than 50°F and prolonged exposure should be avoided.

There is a possibility that an ice bath can make stiff or tight muscles worse. Although it is excellent for helping with swelling and general muscle soreness, as mentioned previously, if muscles are already stiff it could be detrimental.

If a boxer has some type of heart problem, they should avoid the use of ice baths. The cold temperatures can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which is not great for someone with pre-existing heart problems. Someone who has an open wound should also not submerge themselves in an ice bath.

Final Thoughts

Boxing is a sport that brings with it many physical strains. One of the most popular ways for boxers to help recover and rehabilitate after a tough and strenuous match, is by using an ice bath. The water in the bath should be cold enough to take away muscle spasms, minor inflammation, and reduce swelling. Ice baths can also improve recovery time and restore energy levels in the body.

Ice baths also reduce your core core temperature and will help boxers recover from a fight quicker. A boxer’s body temperature can rise up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit during a boxing match, which could lead to dehydration and muscle spasms. To combat this, boxers will often cool themselves down with an ice bath both before and after the match.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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