Nothing can ruin a good workout streak more than soreness and muscle stiffness. The tried and true methods of proper nutrition, stretching, and a good night’s rest work for athletic recovery. But, they can take a lot longer than what most people want.
However, with new athletic recovery technology hitting the market every year you can be sure that long recoup periods are a thing of the past. We’ve rounded up some of the best recovery tech out there so you can get back to the gym in no time. From myofascial release systems to fitness trackers that calculate your recovery, athletic recovery is a cinch.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Body Soreness: NormaTec
Although these big, black boots may not be fashion forward, they will definitely give you a leg up in your athletic performance. NormaTec has developed a system of compression technology that can rid your body of soreness and get you back to your peak.
The NormaTec system is comprised of a control unit and separate attachments that can go either on the legs, hips, or arms. The most popular among runners and triathletes are the legs. The attachments use compressed air to massage your limbs and speed up recovery by mobilizing fluid from your limbs toward your core. NormaTec has a patented massage pattern that is believed to be the most effective way to mobilize fluid in and out of the limbs, which is what creates that “fresh legs” feeling after taking the boots off.
The NormaTec system was the first of its kind, designed to mimic normal physiology in the body, and is the leader for athletic recovery and performance. These boots essentially utilize the well-known method of pneumatic compression along with innovative use of “pulse technology”. Pneumatic compression technology has been used in medicine for years. However, the “pulse technology” takes dynamic compression to a whole new level.
Instead of using “static” compression to “squeeze” fluid out of the limb, NormaTec uses the “Pulse Massage Technology”. This pulsing action more effectively mimics the muscle pump of the legs or arms, greatly enhancing the movement of fluid from the limbs after an intense workout.
Compression Recovery In Your Own Home
The system is easy to use and can be done right in your own home. Simply place your legs into each zippered sleeve and then you’ll begin to feel a few seconds of compression in each leg. These periods of compression following a long period of rest. But all you have to do is sit back and let the system do its thing. A session in the boots can vary in time, you can start seeing benefits from as little as 20 to 30 minutes of use.
NormaTec is on the pricey side, with the whole system going for $1,295 USD. However, if you use the device on a regular basis, it will definitely pay for itself in a short amount of time. Considering that your average massage cost is about $50 per hour and you can use Normatec whenever you need to.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Muscle Tension: HyperIce’s Vyper Foam Roller
Without a doubt, the foam roller industry has exploded in the past couple of years. This roller boom is not without good reason, either. Foam rolling is a fantastic way to release long-held muscle tension and prevent injury. However, when your standard foam roller just isn’t enough, try this powerhouse recovery tool.
Powered by a rechargeable battery, HyperIce’s Vyper is a foam roller that offers three speeds of vibration for a unique self-myofascial release experience. Its surprisingly robust vibration makes a world of difference between, during, and after tough workouts.
Plus, it’s got some serious science to back it up. According to one 2011 study, vibration therapy after resistance training nixes delayed onset muscle soreness and recovers range of motion significantly. On top of that, another 2010 study found that vibration therapy significantly reduced lower body soreness after downhill running.
The Vyper roller goes for $199 USD, making it a worthwhile investment to your fitness journey.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For More Effective Training & Recovery:Halo Sport
This next piece of tech is less about R&R and more about making the most out of your training session. The Halo Sport headphones are bringing your strongest muscle, your brain, into the workout equation. These headphones are designed to make your training or practice more efficient by improving your brain’s natural plasticity. This affects your recovery because if you train more effectively, your body’s ability to recoup will be quicker and there is less risk of injury.
How Halo Sport Affects Your Brain
By applying a mild electric field to the motor cortex, Halo’s Neuropriming technology induces a state of “hyperplasticity”. This is because when you train in a hyperplastic state, the brain’s normal fine-tuning process occurs more rapidly. Therefore you can get better results from each practice rep.
The idea is to use this device for 20 minutes before an activity to create a state of ‘hyper-learning’ by “neuropriming”. This means exciting the tissue in your brain artificially before an activity. Basically improving your capability to learn and embed new movements. The theory goes that if your brain is more ‘plastic’ when you try to learn a new skill, be it running correctly or shooting three-pointers, you’ll absorb it quicker.
Using the Halo Sport for 20 minutes before workouts or practices can help you achieve gains in strength, skill, and endurance substantially faster than they would on their own. The headphones currently run $299 USD with added features of Bluetooth connectivity and improved sound quality.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Smoothing Out Stiffness: HyperIce’s Hypervolt
Whether it was trying a new exercise or just training your body harder, aches and pains come with the territory. However, stiff and sore muscles can be a major speed bump in your workout routine. You could book an appointment with your physiotherapist or massage therapist to address the issue. But that can be time-consuming and costly. That’s where a device like the Hypervolt comes in.
The Hypervolt is a cordless vibration massage device that relieves muscle stiffness and soreness. The device increases circulation and range of motion and can improve the health of the body’s soft tissue. Essentially, you can target your soreness with the device as you need it.
The device looks like an impact driver, used by many physiotherapists, and functions much the same way. The device oscillates back and forth at speeds up to 3200 RPM. Helping you to loosen tight muscles and reduce soreness from hard training sessions. With four attachments, ranging from a firm foam sphere to a two-pronged plastic fork, the Hypervolt can smooth out all sorts of stiffness.
How Vibrations Can Improve Your Sports Recovery
Studies have shown that massage therapy in the form of vibration can be beneficial to muscular systems and tendons because it mimics exercise and positively influences muscle function and coordination. Studies have also shown that some forms of vibration therapy offer comparable effects to mild exercise, which is what you should be doing on your days off.
You can add the Hypervolt to your recovery regime for $349 USD. With a rechargeable battery life of up to three hours and powerful motor, this device is an asset to any athletes routine.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Better Recovery During Sleep: Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear
Sure, sleep has always been on the most obvious ways all athletes recover. However Under Armour’s high-tech sleepwear can help you make the best of your eight hours at night. The Athlete Recovery Sleepwear incorporates bioceramic technology into a patterned lining the garments. These bioceramic particles absorb infrared wavelengths emitted by the body and reflect back “far infrared energy”. Therefore, helping the body recover faster while promoting better sleep.
Far infrared energy is a completely safe type of radiation that promotes cell regrowth within the body. That means your muscles and joints regenerate faster, resulting in less soreness after intense physical activity.
The therapeutic effects of far infrared energy have long been used in saunas to treat pain and discomfort. Under Armour’s Athlete Recovery Sleepwear provides those same benefits and lets you skip the trip to the sauna by using far infrared-emitting bioceramic particles and your own body heat.
Each piece of sleepwear (both tops and bottoms) runs about $55 to $65 for men and women. Also, check out Under Armour’s new recovery bedding sets. So you can really envelope yourself in your sports recovery.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Muscle Conditioning: MARC Pro Plus
With new advances in sports technology adding up every year, it is now quite easy to get professional recovery results in your home. With the introduction of the MARC Pro Plus, you can now get professional electronic conditioning from your couch.
The MARC Pro is an electronic muscle conditioning device designed to decrease muscular fatigue and soreness via electrical muscle stimulation. MARC stands for Muscle Activated Recovery Cascade. In other words, it is a lot like a recovery run or ride. Except you’re not tempted to over-train like many of us do.
The electrodes stimulate the targeted muscles, creating a pulsing sensation. This action pumps out waste and brings in fresh blood to facilitate a faster recovery. It also can be used for pain management associated with over-use and sore muscles. Current studies suggest that electrical stimulation enhances recovery compared to simply resting.
The compact device is basically a portable version of stimulation machines at the athletic trainer or physical therapist. The device is complete with adhesive electrode pads and dials for adjusting intensity. The MARC Pro Plus comes with six packages of electrodes, two lead wires, and a manual to illustrate placement options for both recovery and injury.
The current device sits at $1399 USD and would be a major addition to your workout routine and overall physical well-being.
High Tech Athletic Recovery Tool For Understanding Your Body’s Recovery: Whoop Fitness Tracker
There are a ton of fitness trackers out there that spit out data. Mountains and mountains of data. However, all the data in the world isn’t helpful without context. With context, data becomes valuable information. The Whoop Fitness Tracker does just that, transforming data into actionable info. The Whoop’s data output falls into three, interconnected buckets: strain, recovery, and sleep performance.
First, it measures how much strain you endure on a given day using your heart rate as the measuring stick. You can see your level of strain on a 21-point scale, which you can compare from day-to-day.
Next, the WHOOP tracker measures your sleep performance. This is based on a variety of factors that make up a sound night’s sleep. Including your total time asleep, time in the different sleep stages (light, REM, deep sleep) along with the number of disturbances. Your quality of sleep is represented as a percentage based on how much sleep you needed to recover from your day.
Finally, the key stat is your recovery score. Also measured on a percentage basis, this is how well your body has recovered from the previous day’s strain and how ready it is for the new day. This percentage is scored based on two indicators: your resting heart rate (RHR) and your heart rate variability (HRV). A low RHR and high HRV indicate that your body has recovered and is ready for high levels of strain.
You can get the Whoop Tracker for a monthly subscription of $18 USD. Giving you access to their integrated data, analytics and fitness community.