Here are 7 products that you may not have heard of to aid recovery and help with injury prevention.
PowerPlay is a portable ice and compression device developed to help athletes rehabilitate and recover. It delivers cold and sequential intermittent compression to specific body areas with the use of a small handheld rechargeable unit. The 360 degree knee sleeve envelops the knee and most of the thigh musculature with a patellar cut-out to deliver the benefits all the way around the leg.
The PowerPlay system mimics the body’s natural muscle contractions allowing you to naturally pump fluid and that heavy legged feeling out of the knee and thigh. The increased blood flow from PowerPlay assists in delivering oxygen directly to the injured tissues and stimulates healing. Wrap the velcro sleeve with cold gel insert around the knee, attach the pump and choose your desired compression level. The pump will give a gentle squeeze at 50 mmHg or give a sturdy muscle wringing at 70 mmHg, depending on your comfort level. The unit allows for 3 separate sleeves to be attached at one time while cycling through 20 minutes of cold compression. There are sleeves for all areas of the body, so you could splurge and get the foot/ankle as well as a couple of knee sleeves and voila, you have your very own portable chilled compression boot!
The sleeve will squeeze for 10 seconds and then release, before it starts up again. This acts as a gentle “massage” to flush waste by-products out of your legs. It also provides a counterirritant for the pain pathway to your brain. This effectively tricks you, decreasing your perception of PAIN and discomfort, the same way you instinctively know to rub your elbow after you bump it. It really does make it feel better!
The Powerplay system is also the best alternative to narcotics for injuries and post surgical applications as well. Narcotics can affect balance, cognition, motivation, respiratory drive. They can also make you itch, sick to your stomach, make you a full on zombie and can lead to dependency issues. Say no to drugs and yes to the 360 deg knee wrap!
The Bottom Line:
The PowerPlay offers solid construction, easy, portable cold compression. An awesome insulated cooler bag is provided to carry it around and keep it cold. Take it right to the trailhead, track or gym so that you can start recovering right after your workout. This unit is invaluable if you are preventing or recovering from a knee injury (and who isn’t right?) This is the quadruple threat of recovery, offering a comprehensive RICE-ing tool. (RICE is the acronym used to treat swelling and stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.) Wrap the sleeve, sit down and put your leg up and let the healing begin. In my opinion it is the best, most economical, sequential intermittent cold compression product on the market.
Disclaimer: Potential Energy Training and Nutrition really believes in this product in fact Coach Tricia is a proud PowerPlay ambassador and athlete. We love them and offer a link on our Affiliates Page of our website, which allows you to save shipping on your purchase. We do benefit from your purchase, and thank you for supporting awesome things!!
The TOLA Point tool was developed by an orthopedic physical therapist. It allows the user to target restricted soft tissues with precise deep pressure for pain relief and increased ease of movement. It is a self-treatment tool that lets you use your body weight to fully relax while really digging deep with self regulated pressure.
The system comes with three different sized TOLA Points and wedges to angle and elevate the points, allowing you to specifically dial in and target your areas of pressure. They are durable little guys too, made from the same materials as LEGO blocks. The system can be combined with the TOLA straps which can anchor the unit and be looped around your knee. You could also use the strap to fix it to a soft roller or door to gain mechanical advantage. This way you can get the Tola Point into many hard to reach spots.
The Bottom Line:
The TOLA system is an inexpensive, well thought out addition to your recovery repertoire. It allows you to get into those little nooks and crannies that the foam rollers just can’t reach. The straps, wedges and instruction booklet developed and written by a physical therapist really makes the package incredibly useful. If you have had an injury and experienced an amazing therapist with “just the right touch” you can try these to replicate it at home with these. I found them most useful to work on my upper back and just below my shoulder blades as well as my hamstrings and deep into my outer hips, helping with low back discomfort. These areas seem to be in a perpetual state of “sore” due to too much sitting and hunching over a computer in between tough workouts. They are portable, cheap and way better than the lacrosse ball that most of us used to use for this purpose. You should get one.
Disclaimer: Potential Energy Training and Nutrition really believes in this product and as such, offers a link on our Affiliates Page of our website, which allows you to save 10% on your purchase. We do benefit from your purchase, and thank you for supporting awesome things!!
This recovery and self massage tool is pretty unique. It provides 3 levels of strong vibration to really aid in getting into the deeper layers of the body’s soft tissues. I find it particularly useful in working on the hamstrings and deep into the hips to increase flexibility, decrease stiffness and increase range of motion. Right after a long run or bike ride, it is very effective in combating fatigue and stiffness and allows me to really pinpoint some deep pressure. Much like a softball or lacrosse ball, the 5″ sphere is quite unforgiving, allowing body weight to apply pressure and release the soft tissues.
The vibration seems to allow increased time and deeper pressure without the muscle tightening up. The vibration aids in muscle relaxation. The rechargeable sphere can be used 2+ hours after one recharge. Ten or 15 minutes of use at a time, would allow for 8 sessions before needing to plug in.
The Bottom Line:
The Hypersphere is a unique, vibrating self massage tool. It allows for deep penetrating pressure on some hard to reach areas. The vibration really assists in loosening hard to reach and troublesome areas including hips, calves, hamstrings, quads and the feet.
Enerskin is a high-tech piece of compression wear. The knee sleeves have medical grade silicone taping that is meant to support and stabilize the muscles around the knee, primarily the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf. The sleeve itself takes some practice to put on. The company provides an excellent video on their website for proper application and recommends aloe vera lotion prior to application to prevent chaffing (they are that tight.)
The sleeves combine taping technology and compression to provide enhanced recovery and injury prevention. The compression is second to none in garments I have worn before.
The Bottom Line:
The Enerskin knee sleeves provide amazing compression and support around the knee. Athletes with previous injuries that required taping techniques may benefit from the sleeves without adhesive irritation. Compression products, like this are a great way to aid recovery and may help in preventing injuries.
These wraps are brilliant and super simple to use. They provide compressive support and cooling to joints, muscles, tendons and connective tissue. After a hard workout or during a workout the wraps can be adjusted to tailor the amount of compression you desire. They are portable, lightweight and stay cool with the stretchy, “coolcore” fabric that has won plenty of accolades in the sporting and fabric world.
I can not believe no one has thought of these before, but I assume with the new technology of fabrics, they were really not possible before now. As soon as your workout is done, you can wrap these around your calves and/or thighs and start recovering. Just as easy as pulling on some compression socks or sleeves and much more adjustable, these sleeves squeeze and provide cooling which aids in decreasing inflammation. Potentially, the sooner you recover, the quicker you can get back to training.
The Bottom Line:
These wraps are easy, affordable and a great simple addition to your recovery strategy.
Here are some endorsements for the use of the Elevated Legs Compression Sleeves:
“With a background in sports medicine, I understand how important it is to create the most optimal environment for recovery – that’s why I am proud to be an Elevated Legs athlete! Lately, my rides have been pushing me to the point of sore to the touch legs, but by adding a round of squeezing to my recovery routine – I’ve been able to do back to back hard days when it’s been a struggle in the past.” – Karen Jarchow, Topeka-Ergon Racing Team.
“I have been cycling fairly seriously for the past three years and am always looking for ways to improve. I decided to train with the gals at Potential Energy Training who have said over and over that recovery is where I can make my biggest gains. Tricia and Melissa sent me to Elevated Legs which has now become my daily routine. I hop in my Elevated Legs after all of my workouts, no matter how tough or long, and I get that extra recovery my legs need. I find that I can go harder and deeper into my workouts and that the nasty heavy feeling I used to get after a hard workout is just not there anymore. I’ve tried other brands and I can say that these boots do the job!” – Garron Cadiente, athlete, husband and busy father of 5.
The Bottom Line:
Elevated Legs have produced an affordable, but reliable compression sleeve technology. These boots offer all of the features of higher priced brands, but at a fraction of the cost. They allow for sequential intermittent compression due to the 4 separate chambers. These will no doubt take your recovery game to the next level.
The Marc Pro website advertises these muscle stimulating units brilliantly. Chiseled bodies, professional athletes, scientific studies and testimonials are all included in the pitch. The one statement that really got me wanting to try the unit:
“makes tough people tougher!”
Well sign me up! The Marc Pro is delivered in a durable protective pouch with everything you will need to get started. Multiple electrodes, instruction booklet, charger and electrode lead cables are all included. Having used different forms of electric current for years as a practicing physiotherapist, for muscle re-education, pain relief and edema control, it was refreshing to have a unit that takes all of the guesswork out of the settings. Plug yourself in, turn on the unit, set the time (15, 30, 45, 60 minute options) and set the intensity for each of the two channels and you are ready to go. You can choose to use all 4 electrodes on one leg, for example, or use 2 electrodes per leg, it depends on what you are going for with use.
Had a particularly difficult workout? Have a pair of sore heavy legs and need to speed recovery time so you can smash your workout again tomorrow? This unit can help by directly stimulating the nerves that control the muscles you need to work on. Here are some other benefits of Marc Pro’s unit:
- recover faster to ride harder
- decrease muscle soreness and fatigue
- increase circulation and oxygenated blood flow
- feel good muscle pumping massage
- great tool for warming up before a race or training session
What does it feel like? The waveform of the unit really does deliver a comfortable contraction of the muscles you’ve targeted depending on your pad placement. It contracts the muscle and then relaxes it slowly and repeats it over and over. Intensity is easily dialed up to make it stronger, or down if it’s too much. Your body will adapt to the stimulation over time, so it is nice to fine tune the intensity during a session as well; which is easy to do.
The Bottom Line:
The Marc Pro is a welcome addition to any athlete’s recovery repertoire. It offers a comfortable muscle pumping massage and circulatory boost to speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness and fatigue. Get back to training with less fatigue? Yes please! If you are looking for a unit to also aid in pain relief technology, I’d suggest the upgrade to the Marc Pro Plus. If you want a unit to help you build a rocking six pack, well that is just flat out ridiculous so don’t be silly.
Disclaimer: Potential Energy Training and Nutrition really believes in this product. We love them and offer a link on our Affiliates Page of our website, which allows you to save on your purchase by using our code. We do benefit from your purchase, and thank you for supporting awesome things!!
Want to stay connected with us?
Tricia Davis, PT
Co-owner, USAT and USAC Certified Coach, wellness and injury prevention specialist.
Tricia is a hyperkinetic, Canadian trained physiotherapist and athlete. Good at seeing the big picture, she is able to focus on the most important specific details for you to achieve success. Tricia thrives most in helping those with limited time by providing evidence based training and skill acquisition in order to make training the most efficient way to attain goals while reducing risk of injury. Tricia is passionate about health, wellness and efficiency in sport while maintaining a balance in all aspects of life.
Connect with me at Tricia@potentialenergytraining.com