What Are the Best Recovery Tools for Athletes?
Aug 05, 2021
Whether it’s taking care of themselves after an intense sports performance or creating a post workout routine, athletes know the importance of sports recovery tools. Not all recovery tools for athletes are physical items, though. They can be routines like stretching exercises to stay limber or practicing yoga to improve mobility and flexibility.
Today we’re looking at the best recovery tools for athletes you can try out to see how they help keep you in optimal shape. When it comes to sports performance, taking care of your body during a cooldown period can’t be emphasized enough.
Choosing the Best Recovery Tools for Athletes
Where do you begin when it comes to body recovery equipment and routines? When it comes to choosing the best recovery tools for athletes, it’s about knowing what your body needs and how best to take care of it. Some of our favorite body recovery equipment and activities for athletes are:
- Foam roller to protect range of motion
- Portable massage gun
- Massage chair for massage therapy at home
- Stretching routines to protect range of motion
- Smart devices that monitor activity and give guidance
Muscle Recovery Foam Roller
When it comes to simplicity, affordability, and benefits, the foam roller is one of the top must-have recovery tools for athletes! Available in many different sizes, weight capacities, and designs to meet your needs, having a foam roller is one of the easiest sports recovery tools you can invest in.
How do you use a foam roller? These recovery tools for athletes are very simple to use and can be part of your warm up or post workout recovery routine. In essence, you put the area you want to “massage” or work out on top of the foam roller and allow the weight of your body to do the work for you as you glide back and forth over it. For example, if you’re a runner and want to take care of your calf muscles, you’d rest your calves on the foam roller, elevate your body off the floor using your arms, and roll back and forth.
The only drawback to the foam roller is that their simple design and usage, while effective in their own way, may not be able to provide the same kind of benefits that other recovery tools like a foot and calf massager can.
Massage Gun Recovery Tools for Athletes
By now, you’ve probably heard of portable massage guns as they’ve become increasingly popular in recent years. Two of the most popular massage gun recovery tools for athletes on the market are the Hyperice Hypervolt and Theragun. These powerful handheld tools are great for warming up tight muscles before a workout or helping prevent muscle soreness after physical activity.
If you’re a runner, for example, try using a massage gun on each of your main muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, and calves) for about 15 seconds each beforehand to warm them up and potentially help prevent injuries. Afterward, use them on the same muscle groups for up to 2 minutes each to help during the cooldown process. Studies have shown that massage and vibration therapy can be effective at preventing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which could otherwise keep you from performing at optimal levels for a while.
Massage Chair Benefits for Athlete Recovery
Speaking of massage, it’s been shown that massage may be beneficial both mentally and physically for athlete recovery. While a small, portable massage gun is great for focusing on singular muscle groups at a time, taking care of your body as a whole is important, as well. This makes massage chairs worth buying for home use. One of the best recovery tools for athletes available, luxury massage chairs have rollers that start around your neck area and continue to your lower back. They also provide foot and calf massages, which is essential to support your leg muscles.
When you’re choosing a massage chair as part of your body recovery equipment, you’ll want to note the difference between S-track vs L-track massage chairs. S-track massage chairs have roller tracks that end at your lower back. L-track massage chairs (sometimes also referred to as SL-track), however, have glute tracks that continue your massage further down your body to take care of your glutes and the top of your hamstrings. These features are especially important massage chair benefits for athletes who want to incorporate their chairs into their sports recovery tools arsenal.
Other massage chair features found in luxury models may help boost these recovery tools for athletes, as well. Features such as heat therapy, chromotherapy, and body scanning enhance the overall massage chair experience. Top-of-the-line massage chairs may even offer AI massage technology, which allows your chair to use two types of body analysis to adapt to your needs and provide a personalized massage experience each time.
Stretch Routines as Sports Recovery Tools
As we mentioned, not all sports recovery tools are physical items. Sometimes the best recovery tools for athletes are good cooldown routines like targeted stretching. Stretching after physical activity helps lengthen your muscles and keep them loose. This cooldown activity is what protects your range of motion and may help reduce the risk of DOMS. Stretching routines after a workout are typically made up of static stretches, which feel great on your muscles when they’re already warmed up.
If you’re finding you want (or need) a little help with static stretches after physical activity, you can get resistance bands to help the process. These resistance bands are inexpensive, yet effective, body recovery equipment items any athlete can benefit from having.
If you want to supplement static stretching with more dynamic activities to cool down you can add low-impact exercises like yoga or tai chi to your post workout recovery routine, as well. These activities help you protect that all-important range of motion and increase mobility and flexibility.
Fitness and Recovery Tracker
Last, but definitely not least, on our list of the best recovery tools for athletes are fitness and recovery trackers. Devices like a Fitbit are able to track your steps, heart rate, and even sleep quality. This can be immensely beneficial to setting fitness goals and monitoring your progress along the way. They even have social elements now for linking to friends to keep up motivation and challenge one another!
Another popular device, the Whoop Strap, quantifies your body’s recovery percentage and how it’s adapting to stress to determine how ready you are to take on the day. You can set different goals and put in different activities you’ve started (such as HIIT workouts) and it’ll help you determine how hard you can go that day, what may be detracting from your overall performance, as well as an update on your general wellbeing.
We hope this guide has helped you recognize some of the best recovery tools for athletes to see what you may want to add to your body recovery equipment. The importance of self care cannot be overstated and using sports recovery tools is an easy way to make sure you keep your body in peak performance shape. Try out a foam roller, choose a massage chair for home, or invest in a fitness and recovery tracker that helps keep you on track to perform your best at all times and see the difference these tools can make.
Learn more about the benefits of massage chairs for health and recovery by checking out these resources:
- What is a 4D Massage Chair and Its Benefits?
- Summer is Here: How to Recover From Sports Injuries
- 7 Benefits of Massage Therapy At Home
- 5 Deep Tissue Massage Benefits You Need to Experience