Home Ice Bath Setup with Chuck Glynn
Do you know how to take an ice bath? At XPT, we get a lot of questions about ice therapy, including, “how long do you stay in an ice bath?” and, “how cold does it need to be?” Although we have some guidelines for how cold the ice and water should be and how long you should take an ice bath, when it comes to ice bath setups, we’re all for any option that allows you to participate in our XPT ice methods efficiently and safely!
Last month, we shared our Performance Director, PJ Neslter’s home ice bath setup. In the article and video below, XPT Technical Advisor and Certified Coach Chuck Glynn shares another alternative.
My Home Setup for An Ice Bath After Workout
For those looking to build a home ice bath system that uses water instead of ice, here is an option that might be a good fit for you.
I purchased a chest freezer from Whirlpool that is perfect for one person up to 6’5” and 350lbs. Here are the dimensions of the freezer:
Volume: 14.8 cubic feet
Height: 33.375 inches
Depth: 30.25 inches
Width: 47.375 inches
The reasons I choose this freezer over others include:
There’s great usable space inside the freezer
It fits on my apartment patio
It has the least number of seams to seal
The price was right, and it had free delivery
If you’re looking for a freezer for the lowest price possible, you can buy a Lowes 10 percent off coupon from eBay for $0.99, as well as buy used gift cards online for less than the amount left on the card. For example, you can buy a gift card with $50 left on it for $40, and it’s guaranteed by eBay and other sites that offer used gift cards. I did this and ended up paying about half price for my freezer!
I also purchased a few other items to complete my setup:
Creating the Setup
Once I had my freezer and other components, it was time to set it up for the ultimate at-home ice bath recovery.
I propped my freezer up on 2×4s to get it up off the ground and away from water. It’s important to keep the electrical controls, which are usually on the base of the freezers, away from pooling water. This will also allow moisture to dry if some water should get under the freezer while it’s in use. It will also help prevent rust and corrosion later on.
Sealing the freezer chest
I sealed the seams of the freezer with 3M food grade silicone adhesive to prevent leaks and rusting. I chose a food grade sealant, since some sealants have chemicals that can leach over time, and I didn’t want to have a chemical bath.
My freezer came with two plugs. One plug is inside, and the other is external. Both seemed to be watertight, and the external plug came with a hose adapter for easy hook-up.
Setting Up the Electrical
Next, I plugged the electrical components in together. Starting from the wall outlet:
First, I plugged in the GFCI plug. Some outlets have this built in, but not all of them do. This will prevent you from getting shocked or having your freezer short out while you are not around. If the plug senses a surge of power, it will shut down the current to the device. Because we’re dealing with water and electricity, it’s best to play it safe.
Next, I plugged the smart Wi-Fi timer outlet into the GFCI plug. This allows me to control my freezer chest from an app on my phone. If I am away from home for an extended period of time, I can shut the whole system down remotely, and I can start it up at any time in preparation for an ice bath when I get home.
Finally, I plugged the temperature controller into the Wi-Fi plug. This temperature controller comes with a control for both heating and cooling. It also has a built-in temperature probe on a 5-foot cord that goes into the water.
Filling the Freezer Chest
Once the electrical components are set up, ensure you have placed the freezer chest where you want it before filling it with water. Fill the chest about ½ to ¾-full of water. You can get in and out of the tub as you fill it to identify your desired water level.
Then, I added 1 cup of Epsom salt and 16 ounces of food grade hydrogen peroxide to help keep the water clean.
Cooling the Ice Bath
I helped jumpstart my ice bath by adding 40 to 50lbs of ice to help the freezer avoid overheating while it cooled the chest of water. While the freezer started to cool the water, I had two ways to keep an eye on the temperature:
The temperature controller via the temperature probe
Double-checking the temperature with a point-and-shoot temperature gun
Once the temperature got low enough to be effective, I was ready to hop in and enjoy all those ice bath benefits.
Keeping it Clean
To ensure my ice bath stays clean, I empty out my freezer chest every two to three weeks, adding fresh water and new Epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide.
A pool skimmer works well to take out any miscellaneous floaters on top. For dirt and heavier debris, I also use an electric bilge pump as a water vacuum.
Converting a freezer chest into an at-home ice bath is relatively safe as long as you follow some easy safety precautions:
Make sure you have a GFCI outlet between your wall outlet and the freezer chest’s hard power. This will prevent any power surging or shock if the freezer chest fails or your home experiences a power surge.
Keep your freezer chest off the ground. When you are using the ice bath, water will likely pool around the base near the electrical components. It’s important to keep your freezer chest away from standing water so it doesn’t short out accidentally should the GFCI fail.
Always unplug your freezer chest prior to using the tub, draining the tub and refilling the tub. Keep the power off if there is any chance water can spill over onto the freezer chest controls.
If your freezer chest is equipped with a locking door, remember to lock the door while it’s not in use. Remember, this is a body of water that can be a potential drowning hazard. Children and animals may crawl into the freezer, and the door could close behind them, possibly trapping them in a cold bath. If your freezer chest does not have a locking door, it’s very simple to add one to the lid.
With this setup, there’s no need to fret over how to take an ice bath if you don’t have a large enough tub at home. The setup and management are easy and convenient, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of ice baths with little hassle.