HaB Direct recently paid a visit to Darsley Park, the training ground of Premier League football club, Newcastle United. The reason being, to install their new football recovery equipment in their purpose-built Training Centre.
Football Recovery Equipment
The ContrastSpa Duo from CET CryoSpas consists of a cold CryoSpa Sport ice bath and a hot ThermoSpa Sport. With space being an issue, we were able to customise the steps that join the two baths together, making them smaller. Furthermore, to make the most of the space provided, we installed the chiller units in the loft above. We came to this decision only after exhaustive in-house testing. This was essential as we needed to check that the available height didn’t compromise chiller performance. As a result, this space-saving solution and the customisation of the steps, resulted in the training centre being able to accommodate both sets of recovery baths.
Recovery Strategy For Professional Football Teams
There are numerous professional facilities that are already using CETCryoSpa hot/cold water immersion solutions for player recovery. These are a few football facilities that have CETCryoSpas installed:
- Wembley Stadium
- AC Milan
- Manchester United
- Manchester City FC
- Bayern Munich
In fact, ice baths, or contrast bathing, are among the best strategies for minimising fatigue. In addition to minimising fatigue, contrast bathing also reduces the risk of injury and promotes recovery. Coaches often prescribe this recovery equipment in conjunction with a healthy diet, good quality of sleep and good hydration. You can read more about Why Football Players Take Ice Baths in our blog.
Newcastle United FC Recovery Equipment
Prior to installation, HaB Direct’s Pete went to visit the training centre to discuss plans and agree on a layout for the contrast baths. Pete drew up a plan, showing how the baths will fit. The hot/cold features were an essential requirement. This meant we were tasked with finding a way of maintaining a quality performance from each system, whilst maximising space to accommodate as many baths as possible.
Now, with their two sets of the ContrastSpa Duo, players are able to take advantage of contrast bathing to help them speed up their recovery. In fact, all they need do is to take a dip in the hot water for 1 to 3 minutes, followed by 1 to 2 minutes in the cold water. This is then repeated for three or four times, always finishing with a cold dip. The reason for this is because the cold water will close the pores before getting dressed.
This hot/cold bathing helps with recovery by promoting rapid alternation between vasodilation and vasoconstriction. This alternation between hot and cold causes a ‘pumping’ action in the peripheral circulation. The hot water stimulates the circulation and brings in fresh blood, lymph, oxygen, water and nutrients. Meanwhile, the cold water promotes the inflammatory response and expels stagnant fluid and waste products.
With installation complete, the site manager commented,
“Really pleased to welcome Newcastle United FC as our newest customer. We hope the baths will play an integral part in NUFC’s recovery strategies and assist them in having a great season.”
Maintaining Fitness After Recovering From Injury
In addition to contrast bathing for recovery, simulated altitude (hypoxic) training is also helpful to players following an injury. It will help them to maintain their level of fitness while they undergo their rehabilitation. This is because when a player trains in the simulated hypoxic (low oxygen) environment, their body will become more efficient at working with the oxygen that is available. As a result, not only will simulated altitude training help recovering players stay match-fit, but it is also beneficial for all players as part of their pre-season training.
Simulated altitude (hypoxic) training is most effective when a tailored training principle is prescribed. Therefore, altitude training solutions need to be adaptable – and safe. This is now possible with Simulated Altitude Training and Environmental Conditions Training by POWERbreathe.
Pre-Season Fitness Testing
Just as recovery is important to performance, so is pre-season fitness testing and training. Firstly, players will be put through fitness tests when they return to training from break, such as the yo-yo test that all players seem to dread. For fitness testing and training, the most commonly used bike worldwide is the Monark Ergomedic 828E .
Then, there will be a range of medical and physical checks. This includes musculoskeletal testing and blood testing using the portable Lactate Scout 4 for on the field testing. Alternatively, EKF Diagnostic’s Biosen series of lactate testing analysers are used by clubs for lab accurate measurement of glucose and lactate in one test. You can read more about Lactate Testing Used by Football Teams in the English Premier League in our blog.
Musculoskeletal testing helps to identify a player’s physical condition. This is helpful in assessing the mechanics and mobility of a player’s joints and muscles. In fact, the h/p/cosmos gaitway 3D offers biofeedback to estimate joint forces and movements of the ankle, knee and hip. This feedback is invaluable for gait rehabilitation in injured players as part of their recovery, as well as, for performance training.
Body Composition And Body Fat Testing
Furthermore, sport scientists will also assess a player’s body composition and body fat. The Harpenden Skinfold Caliper is the industry standard for skinfold measurements and calculating body fat. This is important because a lean body directly correlates to a good show of strength, speed and explosiveness. In fact, this research finds that,
“body composition assessment should be conducted on a regular basis to establish relationships between body composition, health and aspects of football performance.”
Finally, speed and agility are also important parameters to measure in a player. This is because they are good indications of a player’s ability to sprint and change direction quickly. The Brower Timing System is ideal for evaluation of speed and agility, as well as, strength and conditioning.
Pre-Season Training At Newcastle United FC
Newcastle United FC reveal insights into their 2021/2022 pre-season training in this short video.