Recover faster after a workout or rehab yourself back to health with these tools.
Because all injuries take time to heal, no product is going to get you over an injury on its own. But since inflammation is the underlying physiology behind injury, you can get it under control faster—and perhaps prevent it in the first place—with the help of these high- and low-tech devices. Triathlete medical advisory boardmembers Dr. Jordan Metzl and Dr. Jeffrey Sankoff weigh in on each product.
The Marathon Stick
Use for: Self-massage
Dr. Sankoff says: Increases blood supply. For muscle fatigue, The Stick is great. Just like massage feels great on a fatigued muscle, The Stick is going to do wonders for that kind of thing. If you have a sprain or a torn muscle, The Stick should not be used.
Fix yourself: Grab both handles and firmly press the center of The Stick into a major muscle group. Roll it up and down the entire muscle body.
OPTP Axis Black Roller
Use for: Self-myofascial release, stretching
Dr. Sankoff says: In terms of preventing injury, the foam roller can be quite effective. It is particularly useful for stretching things that are hard to stretch otherwise, such as the IT band.
Fix yourself: Place the roller on the ground and lay the side of your thigh against the foam. Roll back and forth, allowing it to massage into your leg. Stop and hold for a moment in the most tender places, as those are likely spots of adhesion in the soft tissue. (Yes, it’s supposed to hurt that badly.)
Use for: Applying ice to many different body parts
Dr. Sankoff says: When you apply ice to something, you minimize the amount of swelling. By decreasing the amount of swelling in the area, you can decrease the amount of time it takes to recover from your workouts or an injury. Ice is effective for all kinds of injury, but in overuse injuries, you have to address whatever the issue is that caused the injury in the first place.
Fix yourself: Drop the pack in the freezer for four hours or more. Attach it to the fabric strap and wrap it around any sore body part. Remove after 20 minutes and drop it back in the freezer.
Home remedy: Moji is able to conform to the body better than ice cubes from the freezer, but so do frozen peas. The home solution won’t last nearly as long, but wrapping a bag of frozen veggies against an ailing body part with a roll of plastic wrap from the supermarket—or better, a moving supply store—does the trick, too.
Trigger Point Starter Set
Use for: Post-workout muscle massage
Dr. Metzl says: Scientific data have shown that massage quickens muscle recovery. And if you can do your own massage at home, that’s great. The Trigger Point tools are essentially similar to a foam roller but can get in deeper.
Fix yourself: Use the ball or roller to get into small or hard-to-reach muscle groups such as the calf or hip abductors.