6 tools that will cut your recovery time by 50%
6 Tools That Will Cut Your Recovery Time By 50%
When you’ve put in a tough workout at the gym or a long run or ride, it’s tempting to spend the rest of the day laying on the couch or sitting by the pool. If you really want to cut your recovery time down you need to keep moving. When you lay, or sit down after a tough workout your muscles get even more stiff than normal. Staying limber by utilizing mobility and other awesome recovery tools will help ensure you aren’t sorer than you should be and you can actually walk the next day. Sure, odds are if you really pushed yourself you’re going to be sore for 24 hours but it won’t last longer than that if you take the necessary steps after a workout. Utilizing recovery tools will also help you practice good habits that will keep you injury-free and increase your overall performance.
Let’s take a look at some of the best tools you can use.
This is a broad category of simple, yet effective recovery clothing. Companies like 2XU and SKINS make high-quality compression clothing that’s durable and worth the investment. Specifically, compression pants, shorts and socks can be a game changer for training and recovery. Whether or not compression clothing helps performance during a workout is debatable, but utilizing compression pants and high socks can help speed up recovery. Specifically, compression helps increase blood flow and reduce muscle stiffness and swelling.
There are a lot of stretching straps out there that provide some additional help to stretch muscles post-workout. Stretching is still a great addition to mobility work and myofascial release. If you aren’t into yoga but still want to stay limber and help prevent soreness and injury, pick up a stretching strap and go through 10 minutes after you cool down. Like the Cryosphere, this is an affordable tool that takes up a limited amount of space in a backpack or gym bag. You can pick up the Theraband Stretch Strap for under $20 and it comes with loops for your feet that help you get into deeper stretches when you don’t have a buddy to do it for you. You can easily address hamstrings, quads, calves, and IT bands with pretty limited effort and improve your range of motion in no time.
3. Epsom Salt
Soaking in a bath of Epsom salts is a great way to relax sore muscles and is a lot more realistic than an ice bath for most people. For just about $5 you can get a bag of salts that offer a relaxing effect. In water, the salts break down into magnesium and sulfate. In theory, these get into your body through your skin helping relax muscles and stiff joints. Most people utilize Epsom salt soaks for general pain, swelling and soreness.
This tool is portable, stays ice cold up to 6 hours, and is something great to keep in a gym bag and use right after a tough workout. The combination of ice and massage not only feels great but provides a really effective way to recover muscles faster and prevent soreness. Freeze the steel ball before a workout for 2 hours and store it in a gym bag or car to use right after a workout. The combination of ice and massage make 2-in-1 recovery a breeze and the handle allows for personalized pressure during myofascial release. The steel ball can also be used outside of the handle for the bottoms of feet and anywhere else you would use a mobility tool like a lacrosse ball.
Definitely on the pricier side of recovery tools but well worth it if you get the chance to use this professional recovery system. It’s a very popular tool in professional and college athletic training rooms and for good reason. More and more recovery centers are popping up where you can go use these with a day pass or monthly membership. The NormaTec system works by using compression followed by relaxation to improve blood circulation and repair muscle tissue fast. You can buy systems for full legs, arms and hips. If you don’t want to spring for a $1,500 personal system you can go to their site and see a list of locations near you to try it out.
Electrical stimulation or “e-stim” has been a mainstay in physical therapy clinics as well as high level training rooms for pain relief and muscular re-education. If you don’t get the chance to use these in a clinic, there are a variety of high quality options without the hefty price tag of visiting a PT or recovery center. E-stim utilizes electrode pads to run a current of electrical stimulation to muscles that’s been shown to speed up recovery and help reduce pain around an injury site. Upwards of $90 you can get a quality and portable stim machine to use at home.