Top Recovery Aids Compared - The Stupp Training Review
By Julie Stupp, Olympic Trials Finalist
Recovery, ahhh the word sounds so nice and relaxing, right? In reality, recovery can be the hardest aspect of training for some athletes. To be an elite athlete in any discipline, recovery is almost more important than the daily grind. Actively recovering after workouts can include a range of activities such as a massage, special nutrition, physical therapy, yoga, sleeping, stretching and foam rolling. If you don’t properly take care of your body, injuries can creep up and sideline a season’s worth of work and – worst case scenario – racing.
Active recovery requires extra time, some work and most importantly planning. Scheduling a massage once a month or preparing protein shakes after every workout can take a little more effort, but the rewards can be enormous.
In order to have longevity in a sport, recovery is a detail that quickly adds up. Showing up 10-15 minutes early for practice in order to stretch and setting aside 15-20 minutes a day for foam rolling are easy and essential to staying healthy and injury free.
SwimOutlet.com has a wide variety of recovery tools to help you stay limber and at your best throughout your athletic endeavors. So I set out to give you the lowdown on the various options to aid your recovery.
TIGER TAIL ROLLING MUSCLE MASSAGER ($29.95)
The Tiger Tail massage stick is a great product because it is easy to pack in a carry-on bag and take to an out-of-town competition. The massage stick has a comfortable cushioned covering that easily glides over muscles, but is also firm enough to work out any knots. Sometimes I find it hard to foam roll my calves deeply enough, but the Tiger Tail definitely allowed me to apply enough pressure with my upper body to really loosen them up.
MOJI CURVE PRO TOTAL BODY MASSAGER ($49.99)
The Moji massage stick is unlike any other recovery tool I have ever used. It is made with four rolling massage balls built into the stick in order to break up sore muscles, specifically in your legs. It is also unique because it can be chilled by leaving it in the freezer overnight. Once the Moji is frozen it combines two awesome recovery techniques: an ice bath and a massage all in one. This frozen massage is especially great to help loosen up your quads and IT bands after a hard session. This was my favorite massage stick above the bunch. Having the ability to ice and massage my muscles at the same time without dripping water everywhere was amazing!
TRIGGER POINT THE GRID FOAM ROLLER ($38.95)
Trigger Point touts a special patented design for their Grid Foam Roller. The design mimics the structure of a massage therapist’s hand. The larger section is like the palm, the long skinny portions are the fingers and the small squares are supposed to feel like fingertips. The Grid allows you to give your body a massage any day of the week. The one-of-a-kind design – combined with a hard inner core – was key for helping me to loosen my glutes and lower back. I would probably buy the Trigger Point Grid foam roller first among this group of products because it perfectly combines the hard inner core and cushioned textured surface. It’s great for everyday use and can easily be packed for travel.
PRO-TEC THE Y FOAM ROLLER ($49.00)
The Y Foam roller uses its name in the design of the product. Two raised “Y” shapes encircle the foam roller, creating several massage options for the athlete. The Y ridges give you the choice and the capability to reach the muscle’s deep tissue or opt for a less aggressive massage by simply rolling on the flatter surface. Having the ability to choose, gives athletes the best of both worlds for everyday use. The Y foam roller’s dual ridges were excellent for stripping my hamstring muscles, a necessary evil for all athletes.
NIKE TEXTURED FOAM ROLLER ($37.95)
Nike has constructed a foam roller that looks very similar to the Trigger Point Grid. The main difference in design is the textured surface on the Nike foam roller has a rectangular shaped pattern. This pattern was essential in breaking up stubborn knots throughout my body. Nike uses a harder textured foam on the outside of the roller and a hard plastic inner core that allows for a very deep massage. This foam roller was best for digging into a sore or gritty area like my hip flexor. The extra hard texture significantly helped to release the thicker hip flexor fascia.
The Aeromat foam roller has a smooth, untextured outer surface that is made completely of foam. It is not as hard as some of the other foam rollers that have the plastic inner cores. This is a great product for beginner foam rollers who are just learning to incorporate these recovery techniques into their daily routine. It is also useful for when you are particularly sore or beat up and don’t want an extremely deep massage. The Aeromat is available in several sizes that offer a firm or extra firm foam option. I love that the Aeromat is long enough for me to roll out my whole body at one time.
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