With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it can be difficult to find the time to work out properly. So it’s just as tough to find the time to recover the right way. However, ensuring your body is well enough for another workout is just as critical as the exercise itself, as rest and recovery are key elements in helping to build muscle while staying injury-free.
Cooling down after a workout doesn’t mean just stopping your workout. Rather, it refers to the process of slowly working your body back to its normal state after an intense bit of exercise. This helps your body to transition effectively and is a great way to treat your body right. Stretching individual muscle groups that you’ve worked, even for a little bit of time, can help to reduce the risk of future injury, so be sure you’re stretching everything out properly.
However, you can also go above and beyond your standard post-workout stretches. Implementing dedicated workout recovery tools can be a godsend. Recovery tools, whether it’s something as simple as a sleep aid or even a foam roller, can help to ensure your body gets what it needs to keep you moving and performing at your peak.
From massage guns to massage balls and even compression leg sleeves, we’ve rounded up ten of the best workout recovery items to make it so you’re fresh and ready to push it to the limit again.
1. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Foam rollers, like this one from TriggerPoint, are extremely helpful to have on hand after exercise, as they can help you target a number of parts of your body. Trusted by both massage and physical therapists, the roller has a number of ribbed areas to roll over your body to effectively relieve muscle tension and pressure. Plus, TriggerPoint offers a comprehensive video library to help you learn how to use it property across a number of different muscle groups. If you’re looking for quality relief without having to spend an arm and a leg, this foam roller is the way to go.
2. Hyperice Hypervolt Plus
We’ve written about the wonders of the Hypervolt Plus before, but the handheld percussion massager allows you to get really specific with how and where you want to apply pain relief after a workout. Three different percussive massaging speeds let you scale up or down the amount of pressure you need to target those specific muscles. Plus, the interchangeable heads are really effective at focusing on a dedicated body part or muscle group. If you’re willing to invest in your workout recovery routine, it’s one of the best massage guns for sale today.
3. IDSON Muscle Roller Stick
Similar to the design of a foam roller, this muscle roller stick from IDSON allows you to mitigate those sore areas by rolling them out. The textured rod can be used on all areas of your body, including your shoulders, arms, back, legs, foot, and even your neck. Nine different rollers will provide a deep tissue massage to further accelerate the recovery process. Plus, at a total length of 18 inches, it is portable enough to toss into a carry-on bag to bring with you on vacation if you’re planning on getting some reps in while you’re on a break.
4. Nuun Rest Drink Tablets
More critical to the recovery process than anything else is making sure to, you know, actually recover. And by that, we mean sleep. Sleep has been proven to help repair muscle after it’s been worked, which is critical to being able to further build it. If you’re having a tough time getting to sleep, these tablets from Nuun release magnesium and potassium to help promote a better and more restful night’s sleep. Plus, they help to reduce stress, which is certainly an added bonus. Not many workout recovery supplements are focused on getting a good night’s sleep, which is why Nuun tablets are many athlete’s best-kept secret.
5. Icy Hot Smart Workout Relief Kit
If your back is especially prone to soreness and tension, this smart relief kit from Icy Hot will make a huge difference. The highly portable, battery-powered electrode pad helps to really target areas of tension and soreness. The slight pulse helps to block pain signals at the nerves, providing a safe and highly effective way of managing pain. It sounds a little weird, but once you use it, you’ll fall in love with just how great it is at managing those tricky and often painful back issues.
6. 4KOR Fitness Ultimate Massage Balls
Small but powerful, these massage balls from 4KOR fitness can really help to get into those hard to reach areas and offer satisfying relief after you exercise. The three-piece set includes a variety of densities (5 inches, 3.2 inches, and a standard lacrosse ball) to help dig into your sore muscles. The massage grid helps to dig deep into the soreness and help loosen everything up. The three-pack helps to ensure there’s an option for every sort of relief.
7. Marc Pro E-Stim Workout Recovery System
If you’re really hitting the weights, the Marc Pro E-Stim system provides professional-grade relief for those who need it most. If you’re worried about sore muscles or cramps keeping you on the bench, this device keeps your body in top shape. Commonly used by sports medicine professionals, the Marc Pro functions by placing nodes over the sore areas and then providing electronic muscle stimulation relief by causing non-fatiguing muscle construction to stimulate the circulatory system — all without causing additional pain. It’s a highly technical solution for those in need of great relief.
8. NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Workout Recovery System
If you want to specifically target your legs after a massive marathon or triathlon, the NormaTec Pulse system is for you. The system’s compression technology wraps around your entire leg and then sends electronic pulses to combat soreness. Its dedicated mobile app allows you to drill down further and focus on critical areas that might need extra attention with its Zone Boost tech. Furthermore, the whole kit is super lightweight at 3.4 pounds, making it great to keep on you if you are traveling for an event. However, the price on this is certainly an investment — but worth it if you’re a heavy runner.
9. PAINCAKES Cold Pack
When it comes to workout recovery, cold therapy is many athlete’s go-to remedy. Punny name aside, the PAINCAKES is a cold therapy solution that really works. With its reusable peel and stick ability, you can target specific areas over and over again — all without worrying about them falling off your body thanks to their proprietary gel adhesive. Plus, the targeted cold will reduce blood flow, which helps to reduce that pesky inflammation and swelling, two of the major things that lead to pain and soreness post exercise.
10. Isopure 25g Protein Powder
Protein powder can make a huge difference in helping your body to recover after an intense workout. Packed with energy-restoring properties, it helps your body to produce insulin, which in turn, helps you to feel better faster — while also giving you that healthy protein to build strong and big muscles. Think of it as quick one-two punch to help you go harder in your workouts. Add it to water for quick use or incorporate it in shakes with other carbs to really supercharge your recovery.