Rucking and Cold Plunging: A Powerful Combination for Fitness and Mental Resilience

When it comes to physically demanding activities like rucking, where endurance, strength, and mental fortitude are essential, athletes are constantly searching for ways to gain an edge. While training methodologies, diet, sleep (which we talk about here), and rucking gear play crucial roles, there is an emerging practice that promises remarkable benefits for ruckers: cold plunging.

I began cold plunging in December of 2022 and have not only grown to love it, but I’ve seen numerous benefits from regular cold exposure. I’ll share a video at the end of the post.

Not a DIYer and looking for the best bang-for-your-buck cold plunge solution? Check out Modplunge. Thousands less than other cold plunges, Modplunge delivers amazing efficiency and consistency at (as far as cold plunges are concerned) a reasonable price. Learn more here. SAVE $50 with discount code burns50.

Plunging into icy-cold water may seem daunting, but this ancient practice has gained popularity among athletes for its potential to improve performance and aid recovery.

Cold Plunging and Its Benefits

Cold plunging, also known as cold water immersion or cold therapy, involves exposing the body to extremely cold water for a short duration. The practice has been around for centuries and has roots in various cultures around the world. Today, it is gaining recognition for its potential physiological and psychological advantages.

Some of the benefits include:

  1. Improved Recovery: One of the primary reasons athletes turn to cold plunging is its ability to enhance recovery. Rucking puts considerable strain on the body, leading to muscle soreness, inflammation, and micro-tears in the muscles. Cold water immersion helps reduce this inflammation by constricting blood vessels and flushing out waste products, which aids in the removal of metabolic byproducts and reduces swelling. Additionally, the cold temperature numbs the pain receptors, providing temporary relief from muscle soreness and discomfort.
  2. Enhanced Circulation and Performance: Cold plunging has been shown to improve circulation, which can have a positive impact on rucking performance. When exposed to cold water, blood vessels constrict, and blood is redirected to vital organs, including the heart and lungs. This process enhances circulation, allowing for increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to working muscles. Improved blood flow helps optimize performance during rucking sessions, ensuring muscles receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients for sustained effort and reducing the risk of fatigue.
  3. Mental Resilience and Endurance: Cold plunging is not only a physical challenge but also a mental one. The shock of immersing oneself in freezing water triggers a stress response in the body, activating the release of endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals. Regular exposure to cold water can improve mental resilience, stress management, and overall mood, enabling ruckers to stay focused, motivated, and determined during grueling training sessions. Furthermore, the ability to endure discomfort and push through mental barriers is a valuable trait in endurance sports like rucking.
  4. Injury Prevention: Rucking, like any physically demanding activity, carries the risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, and joint inflammation. Cold plunging can help mitigate these risks by reducing inflammation and swelling. The cold water numbs the affected areas, providing temporary pain relief and potentially minimizing the severity of injuries. Additionally, cold water immersion can help improve joint mobility and flexibility, reducing the chances of strains and sprains during rucking.

How to Start Cold Plunging

If you’re ready to start cold plunging, here are some tips to get started.

  1. Start Gradually: It’s essential to ease into cold plunging to allow your body to adapt. Begin with shorter exposures of around 30 seconds and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable. If you don’t have access to a cold plunge, you can begin with the simple act of turning down the temperature of your shower for the last 30 second.
  2. Choose the Right Temperature: The ideal temperature for cold plunging varies from person to person. A typical range is between 50°F (10°C) and 60°F (15°C). Experiment with different temperatures to find what works best for you. Of course, in time you can go colder if you want, but the general consensus is that sub-60°F is a sweet spot.
  3. Find a Suitable Cold Plunge: A quick google search will show you there are endless solutions out there. Ranging from free to $10,000+. My personal favorite is Modplunge. It is probably one of the most cost effective and best solutions out there. Of course, you can just fill your tub with water and ice for the same effect, but making all that ice and waiting for water to chill just takes time and energy. A setup like Modplunge just makes life easier. (SAVE $50 with discount code burns50.)

Cold plunging offers a range of potential benefits for ruckers, from enhanced recovery and circulation to improved mental resilience and injury prevention. By incorporating this practice into your training routine, you can optimize your performance, minimize post exercise soreness, and bolster your overall rucking experience. While cold plunging may initially seem intimidating, the rewards it offers make it worth exploring.

As with any new training technique, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or sports performance expert before incorporating cold plunging into your routine. They can provide guidance based on your individual needs, health status, and training goals.

In addition to cold plunging, it’s important to maintain a well-rounded approach to your rucking training. Focus on proper nutrition, hydration, and adequate rest to support your body’s recovery and overall performance. Remember to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your rucking sessions to avoid overexertion and the risk of injuries.

So, lace up your boots, strap on your rucksack, and embrace the chill.

Ready to jump in? Check out Modplunge.
SAVE $50 with discount code burns50.

Posted by is managed by Ryan Burns and is a part of The Rucking Collective, LLC. Ryan discovered Rucking through GORUCK and has completed numerous GORUCK events, including their 50-mile Star Course. You can reach him at

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