Cold plunge solutions are becoming an essential part of any serious runner’s training program. Not only do they help to reduce inflammation and promote faster recovery, but they also provide a convenient way for runners to get the relief they need after an intense workout. Portable cold plunge barrels offer a great alternative to traditional ice baths and can be used virtually anywhere. Whether you’re an elite athlete, a recreational runner, or someone interested in cold water therapy’s mental and physical benefits, this guide is for you and features in our injury and recovery section. Ice bathtubs for runners are available in various sizes and styles to meet your needs.

Table of Contents: Ice Bathtubes Guide

Ice Bathtubs For Runners & Everyone

Ice Bathtubs In Garden

Ice baths and cold plunges are therapeutic recovery methods athletes use to reduce muscle soreness, inflammation and fatigue. An ice bath or cold plunge involves submerging the entire body in a tub of cold water for several minutes. This provides immediate relief from pain while helping your muscles to recover faster after a hard workout. Portable ice bathtubs and cold plunge barrels make it easy to get the benefits of an ice bath or cold plunge in your home without filling a large tub with water. They also offer mental health benefits. Taking a cold plunge can help reduce anxiety and stress while allowing you to relax and reset your mind and body. In addition, the sensation of extreme cold on your skin can be invigorating and energising.

Best Ice Bathtubs & Cold Water Immersion Plunge Barrels

Plenty of portable ice bathtubs and cold plunge barrels are on the market if you’re looking for a convenient way to recover after a hard workout and take advantage of cold water immersion therapy. Many of these products come with easy drainage systems and set-up features. Before making a purchase, it’s essential to do your research and choose a product that best fits your needs and budget. This section will present our top picks to get you started.

Polar Recovery Tub 320L

The Polar Recovery Tub 320L is an exceptional choice for runners seeking an efficient, comfortable cold-water immersion solution. One of its prominent features is its impressive portability, allowing for easy movement and set-up wherever needed. This tub is supplemented with an inflatable ring to ensure maximum comfort during recovery sessions. Further enhancing its utility is a protective lid, effectively preserving the temperature of the water and enabling longer-lasting cold plunge sessions. The tub also includes a conveniently located drain tap, ensuring swift and easy water removal after use. Cleaning this tub is a breeze, thanks to its smooth, non-porous surface, which prevents dirt build-up. All these features combined make the Polar Recovery Tub 320L one of the market’s most sought-after, user-friendly options. Its ergonomic design and user-focused features undoubtedly make it a worthy investment for any serious runner.

Keystone Peak Ice Bath 350L

The Keystone Peak Ice Bath 350L stands out for its robust construction and updated design. The model, built for longevity, sports a sturdy structure that withstands the rigours of routine use. It’s topped with a comfort-ensuring ring, a thoughtful feature that promotes optimal relaxation during cold-water immersion. Catering to everyone, not just athletes, the Keystone Peak Ice Bath 350L has undergone recent updates to enhance its efficacy in providing the beneficial effects of cold-water therapy. Its simplicity extends to maintenance as well. Cleaning this tub is straightforward, and the addition of a drain tap makes water removal hassle-free. The Keystone Peak Ice Bath 350L is more than just a recovery tool for athletes; it’s a gateway to the immense health benefits of cold-water immersion therapy for all.

The Cold Pod 320L

The Cold Pod 320L is a versatile Cold Water Therapy Tub for Recovery designed for those who seek the therapeutic benefits of cold plunge therapy. Fitted with a four-layer construction guarantees durability and longevity despite regular use. Crafted for convenience, it’s portable and can be swiftly set up, allowing you to have your recovery sessions wherever suits you best. The Cold Pod 320L has been engineered to establish an optimal environment for cold-water immersion, helping athletes and active individuals recover effectively post-workout. Its maintenance is effortless due to a seamless drainage system and an easy-clean surface. The Cold Pod offers the utmost comfort, convenience, and effectiveness in your cold plunge experiences.

Explore Fitness Ice Bath Pro Max 440L - XL Option

The Explore Fitness Ice Bath Pro Max 440L brings a new dimension to cold-water recovery therapy. Its impressive capacity makes it the largest ice bathtub featured in this guide, making it ideal for those seeking ample space for their recovery sessions. The inclusion of a lid ensures that the water temperature remains consistently cold, extending the duration of your therapy sessions.

A significant highlight of this model is the accompanying pump, facilitating rapid set-up and water removal for a hassle-free experience. The Ice Bath Pro Max 440L stands out with its sturdy structure, underpinned by six legs for added stability. This robust framework guarantees long-term durability, allowing for regular use without compromising performance. The Explore Fitness Ice Bath Pro Max 440L marries functionality with convenience, offering a comprehensive solution to cold-water immersion therapy. Its user-friendly design, coupled with its superior features, positions it as an invaluable asset for any serious runner or athlete.

More Information On Ice Bathtubs

Now that we’ve completed our guide to the best Ice Bathtubs for runners and anyone interested in cold water immersion therapy, we’ll provide you with more general information. In the following sections, we’ll share tips on using a cold plunge tub, the health benefits of cold-water immersion and some safety precautions to take when using these products. With this knowledge, you’ll be ready to get the most out of your ice bath or cold water immersion experience.

How To Use An Ice Bathtubs For Cold Water Plunges

Man Happy In A Ice Bathtub

Using a cold plunge tub or an ice bath is relatively straightforward. Before getting started, make sure to have all the necessary tools on hand (i.e., a thermometer, clock, cold water source (ice) and a hose). Fill the tub with cold water until it reaches your desired temperature, typically between 50°F and 59°F (10–15°C). Once the water is at your desired temperature, soak for between 3 to 15 minutes.

How To Fill Your Ice Bath

Filling your ice bathtub or cold plunge barrel is a simple process. All you need to do is fill the tub with cold water and add some pieces of ice if desired. Depending on the tub size, the water may take several minutes to reach an appropriate temperature. The ideal ratio of water to ice is two parts water for every one part of ice. Therefore, you want to have a large freezer for making and storing enough ice cubes for your cold plunge tub.

Temperature & Duration For Cold Plunges

Ice Bathtubs Temperature For Cold Plunges

The length of time you should stay in an ice bath or cold plunge depends on your individual needs. Generally speaking, the temperature for a cold plunge is between 50°F and 59°F (10°C to 15°C). This will provide the most therapeutic benefits while still being comfortable enough to stay in the water for a few minutes. Depending on the size of your tub, you may need to adjust the amount of ice or water to reach the perfect temperature. However, some athletes may need to spend more or less time depending on their needs.

How Often Should I Take A Cold Plunge

Man Taking A Cold Plunge In Ice Bathtub

This specific frequency and duration are designed to balance the benefits of cold immersion, such as reduced inflammation and faster muscle recovery, without overexposing the body to extreme temperatures, which can have diminishing returns. Overdoing cold plunges can lead to a decreased immune response and increased risk of illness. Remember, every individual’s response to cold therapy can be different, so listening to your body and adjusting your cold plunge routine is essential. 11 minutes per week (which can be split into smaller chunks) is the optimal time for cold immersion therapy.

Safety & Precautions When Using An Ice Bath

Taking safety precautions is essential before taking an ice bath or cold plunge. You should always consult your doctor before starting any new form of recovery therapy and stay hydrated during the process. Additionally, you should avoid staying in the water too long, which can cause hypothermia or other health risks. Finally, take the time to warm up your body after leaving the bath, as this will help with circulation and reduce muscle inflammation.

How To Clean A Portable Ice Bath

Cleaning your portable ice bathtub or cold plunge barrel is vital to ensure it remains safe and hygienic. To clean the tub, empty any remaining water and wipe the interior with a wet cloth. You may need a mild detergent or cleaning solution for tougher stains. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry the tub before storing it away.

Taking care of your cold plunge solution ensures maximum effectiveness and safety. With the right precautions, a portable ice bathtub or cold plunge barrel can provide runners with an effective form of recovery at any level. Whether you’re training for a marathon or recreational running, having a cold plunge solution on hand will help you stay in the game.

Does Wim Hof Use Cold Water Therapy?

Wim Hof Cold Water Therapy

Yes, Wim Hof and his method of breathing exercises are closely linked to cold therapy. He believes exposure to cold temperatures can help increase focus and mental performance and reduce inflammation. Additionally, he advocates for regular cold showers as a form of recovery therapy. This practice has been backed by science and has proven effective in helping athletes with their training routines. 

 Wim Hof’s technique suggests that people can start by taking cold showers once a day and gradually increase to several times per week. This should be done with his breathing exercises, which help prepare the body for the cold therapy. Stacking also helps build up your tolerance to cold temperatures and can help improve your overall physical performance. 

By gradually introducing cold therapy to your daily routine, you can experience the benefits without risking any health complications. In addition, taking regular cold plunges with a portable tub or barrel is an excellent way to get started with cold therapy and have control over the temperature. With practice and care, you can fully reap the benefits of this powerful and effective form of recovery. Being mindful of the temperature, duration, and safety precautions can help you maximise the results from your cold plunge solution.

What Are the Benefits of Ice Bathtubs?

One of the biggest benefits of taking an ice bath or cold plunge is that it helps reduce muscle soreness. This can be particularly helpful for runners who have experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which can last up to 72 hours after a hard workout or after running their first ultra marathon. Cold plunges can also help with inflammation, range of motion and flexibility, which are critical for athletes. Finally, cold water immersion has been linked to improved performance and mental focus in athletes

A summary of the benefits includes the following: 

  • Reduces muscle soreness.
  • Helps with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • It can reduce inflammation.
  • Increases range of motion and flexibility.
  • Improves mental focus and alertness.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Ice Bathtubs?

The main disadvantage of using ice baths and cold plunge tubs is that they can be uncomfortable for some people when they first start. It’s important to remember that cold water immersion can cause shivering, which can be uncomfortable and adversely affect performance. Additionally, cold water immersion can result in hypothermia if done improperly. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of the temperature of your tub and the duration of your ice bath plunge. We suggest testing the water temp before taking an ice bath plunge. 

In summary, the disadvantages include: 

  • It can be uncomfortable or even painful for some people. 
  • Shivering can occur, which may affect performance. 
  • Hypothermia is a risk if the tub temperature is too cold and/or the duration of immersion is too long. 
  • Water temperature should be tested before taking an ice bath plunge. 

Final Thoughts On Ice Bathtubs

In conclusion, this comprehensive guide outlines the use of portable ice bathtubs or cold plunge barrels for runners. The frequency and duration of cold plunges should balance the benefits with potential risks, often suggested as 11 minutes per week.

Filling the ice bathtub requires a specific water-to-ice ratio, with the optimal temperature for a cold plunge between 50°F and 59°F (10°C to 15°C). While cold plunge therapy offers numerous advantages, such as reduced inflammation and improved mental performance, safety precautions must be observed. Staying hydrated, and avoiding prolonged exposure to prevent hypothermia are crucial. Post-bath warming exercises aid circulation and reduce muscle inflammation. Regular cleaning of the portable ice bathtub also ensures hygiene.

The guide also highlights the endorsement of cold therapy by Wim Hof, who integrates this with breathing exercises, enhancing physical performance and focus. Regular cold plunges using portable solutions can be an effective addition to an athlete’s routine. Looking for other ways to aid recovery? Then take a look at our Bob and Brad C2 review and Bob and Brad Q2 review which is great for runners. I’ve also done a guide to the best massage guns for cyclists too and a guide to ice packs for shin splints injuries.


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