‘Thor’ star Chris Hemsworth regularly takes ice baths to boost his muscle recovery after intense workouts, but timing is key to maximizing muscle building, according to his personal trainer.
The actor carefully times his ice baths to avoid the common mistake of skipping too soon after a workout, which can stall muscle growth and repair, says Chris Hemsworth’s longtime personal trainer Luke Zocchi and head trainer at Centr, Hemsworth’s fitness app.
“If your main goal is to build muscle, you don’t want to take an ice bath right after your workout. Going straight into an ice bath after heavy lifting can diminish your gains,” Zocchi told Insider. .
According to a 2019 study, cold therapy immediately after exercise can interfere with your muscles’ ability to use protein to repair themselves, slowing their ability to grow back bigger and stronger.
However, other evidence suggests that ice baths may be beneficial for preventing excessive muscle damage and removing lactic acid to reduce pain. As a result, some athletes swear by ice baths to help them get back to the gym sooner.
You can reap the benefits of ice baths without stunting muscle growth by waiting at least four hours post-workout to get started, Zocchi said.
He said Hemsworth’s routine typically involves ice baths in the morning, before workouts, for about three minutes at a time, followed by a post-workout sauna for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also alternate between hot and cold, but you should start with the sauna for best results, he added.
While weightlifting workouts help build muscle to make Hemsworth look like a superhero, strategic ice and sauna therapy are key to keeping him in peak physical condition, according to Zocchi.
“You have to work hard, but you grow and get bigger with the recovery,” he said. “The older Chris and I have gotten, the more focused we’ve ever been on recovery.”