My “tricks of the trade” pieces focus on approaches that I use to stay healthy that other professionals may find useful.
During the past couple of weeks I have been participating in some testing at the gym that I go to. The competitor in me wants to do well and see what kind of progress I have made the last six months so I am finding myself a little more sore than usual. Although I generally try to err on the side of caution, I can still find myself need and using some recovery tools that I wanted to share with my readers. Recovery is something that I talk about often because many people do not realize how important it is for tissue repair and other necessary processes to take place. So, today I’m going to share some of my new favorite recovery tools that I have been using that I feel help aid and speed up my recovery time as well enhance mobility.
The first is the Rolloflex muscle roller. I’m sure many of you have seen different types of muscle rollers. I have actually written about one that I purchased a couple of years ago. I must disclose that this was actually given to me to try out and see what I thought. I have to say I honestly like it better and for two reasons: 1) you can apply more pressure to the muscle when rolling – it does not bend or give way AND 2) the price! It’s less expensive. You can also knock yourself out by ordering custom colors if you really want to get fancy. I have used this daily for the last couple of weeks and I especially like to use it after a Crossfit workout (which I only do 2-3 times a week to allow for proper recovery!).
The next two products are for massage, and these allow for deep and very localized tissue work. They are a lacrosse ball – fancy, I know – you can get this at a sporting goods store and use it to lie on or sit on as you roll out localized areas of muscle. You can also use it in combination with a PVC pipe. By placing the ball on the end of the pipe, you can lean into it to deliver upper body trigger point and massage work.
The other massage product I recently discovered is the Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion massager. It’s actually pretty powerful and you can vary the intensity. There are four attachments for targeted pain relief: accupoint, deep muscle, four-finger flex, and raised bump attachment. If you can’t afford weekly massages by a professional, this might be something worth checking out. Massage really can aid in removal of byproducts, increase blood flow, and enhance mobility.
The last recovery item that is a “miracle” worker in my mind is the use of COLD. Ice has done wonders for me (and the hundreds of athletes and clients that I have worked with over the years). I can never stress enough what this can do to control or minimize swelling. I have recently discovered the Wahl hot-cold massaging gel pack for this. You can use it for cold or for heat purposes actually. Just put it in the freezer or microwave and use the velcro straps to adjust and hold in place. (As an athletic trainer, I am particular about this!) I used two of them recently for contrast treatment on a family member with a sprained ankle so it’s versatile too!
I would just close with saying, it’s important to pay attention to what you are doing for exercise, but it’s also important to pay attention to what you are doing for yourself during your downtime/rest time as well. If you are smart about recovery, you can make your workouts even more productive and reduce your risk of injury.