Tempering: How To Strengthen Your Body From The Inside Out.

Tempering or fortifying the body through controlled exposure to the cold. What are the benefits I hear you asking?

If you are reading this then it means that you want to be strong. Unlike a lot of other ideas we have about the world, strength is one that we can work at and achieve great results.

There are only two limiting factors:

  • Health
  • Self-imposed limitations on our own abilities.

The self-imposed limitations are exactly that ... get rid of those and you will be as strong as you want to be. You don't need to be a genetic freak to achieve great results. Health is often overlooked by trying to find a miracle drug or supplements so rare that no one has heard of it. What I am about to tell you is simple and one of the best ways to achieve great health.

As strength athletes or someone seeking strength, the whole body must work together and act like a finely tuned machine; you have trained your nervous system and other systems that the body has, now you need to be as healthy as possible, because, as George Hackenschmidt stated: "Strength cannot be divorced from health."

We all know that there is no one drug that will give us complete health, if there was then there would be no sickness in the world and everyone would be strong even if they didn't train for strength. What I am about to tell you may be old news but for others it will be something that they haven't heard of.

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Temper Your Body
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Tempering or fortifying the body through controlled exposure to the cold. What are the benefits I hear you asking?

  1. Aid the immune system and strengthens it
  2. Makes your body more resilient to cold weather
  3. Increased muscle tone
  4. Speeds up the metabolism
  5. Stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS)
  6. Makes you a better man/woman

There are a few ways to temper your body, the traditional method (if you don't live near a lake or ocean) is to take three five gallon buckets or metric equivalent and dump them over your head one after the other first thing in the morning.

Pavel Tsatsouline Pavel described what can best be named "winter swimming" or cutting a hole in some ice and immersing your body in the frozen water. While this method is effective it is not practical for all people. That is why I favor the bucket method.

In the book titled, "The Russian System Guidebook", Vladimir Vasiliev, shows a method of tempering that is quick and simple. Vladimir recommends tempering twice a day; once before 12 noon, and once before midnight everyday.

Vladimir goes on to say, "As it was explained to me in the Special Forces: 'this way you get the two cycles of the day involved and thus receive both positive and negative energy charges from the earth'."

Vladimir also states that if you are starting to feel sick then you should temper every 2 hours. I have tried this and found that the next day I was feeling great.

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Tempering Mistakes
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Now I will tell you where I made some mistakes so you all can learn form them.

  1. My first mistake was when I tried Vladimir Vasiliev's method, the method is great don't get me wrong but what I was doing was jumping in front of a heater straight away, it did my body no good and I got sick, the doctor said that he had actually heard of tempering and that I was stupid to jump in front of the heater straight away.

    So there we have lesson 1 learned, my suggestion is to just dry yourself off and put your clothes on and just relax.

  2. Mistake number two: starting my tempering at the wrong time of year. Where I used to live I had a pool, so at about 4 in the morning, when I would get up for work, I would jump into the nice fresh ice cold water. While it was refreshing I forgot that it was winter - because we had a few hot days - so when the cold set in I continued to temper. This made me sick again. Lesson 2 learned.

    My suggestion would be to start in summer, then as the water gets colder keep swimming. Look at it as though it is a powerlifting cycle that is slowly adding weight to the bar, then as you reach a peak you will naturally cycle down again.

  3. The third mistake I made was constant starting and stopping due to my work situation. I was sick again, but not as sick. The lesson learned is: keep doing it. If you miss out on a week's worth of tempering, just stop it and pick it up again in the summer.

So there we have it. I will now outline a basic tempering routine that anyone can use:

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Tempering Routine
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So there we have it. I will now outline a basic tempering routine that anyone can use:

  • Pick a method that you will be able to stick to. For most of us the 3 buckets of water will work wonders.
  • Do some joint mobility before you temper, or temper when you finish your training.
  • If you choose the swimming method, just aim for 3 sessions a week. On the days you don't temper just turn your shower to cold for the last 15-30 seconds.
  • Don't have a warm shower after your tempering because, as you learned from my heater experiences, it is not good for your body.
  • If you miss your tempering for more than a week just leave it.
  • Consult your doctor before you start tempering, it may not be the best for you.

That's about it. Most of you will find the 3-bucket method the easiest and most convenient. Anyway, go and give it a bash.

About The Author

Simon Forsyth RKC is a freelance journalist who is available for group and private sessions; he has also started online coaching for all your needs. He was Australians first certified Kettlebell instructor. Simon actively peruses strength in all of its forms. To contact him please e-mail: simon_forsythRKC@bigpond.com

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