• Compression Athlete

Top Muscle Recovery Tools for 2021

Proven picks guaranteed to get you back in action faster.

Athlete using a foam roller for muscle recovery.

Sore muscles are an unfortunate reality for any athlete. There’s just no escaping them, especially when you go hard and give it your all.

On the one hand that soreness might confirm a great workout, but on the other hand it’s the thing holding you back from your next great workout.

And while there’s no silver bullet that offers instant relief, there are a few methods and tools at our disposal nowadays that we know work well at reducing muscle soreness and improving recovery time. New advancements in science and technology have made these effective muscle recovery tools accessible for athletes of every stripe.

With this mind, we’ve put together a list of the top tools for muscle recovery. These picks prioritize items that are tried and true and easy to incorporate into your fitness routines and your everyday life.

Note: Products listed in no specific order. Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.

1. Recovery-Focused Compression Garments

While you might be aware that compression garments are great for exercising in (and we’ve listed the many benefits), not as many people know that compression is also great to wear post-activity for muscle recovery.

And this isn’t just hype from activewear brands, there’s actually plenty of science and research backing this up. To get a better sense of how it works, you can check out our post detailing how compression wear helps with recovery.

2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights

2XU is a leading compression gear brand, known for superior fabrics and design technology. Putting these qualities to good use, they’ve created a line of recovery-specific compression tights that utilize graduated compression to increase blood flow throughout your legs and boost muscle repair.

The 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights feature strong graduated compression while maintaining flexibility, breathability, and a lightweight feel. They have a unique over-the-foot design with built-in stirrups for increased venous return, reduced swelling, and faster muscle repair.

Athletes wearing 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights.

Shop at 2XU: Women’s 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights

Shop at 2XU: Men’s 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights

2XU tights utilize a comfort waistband, which make them great for extended wear. They’re also constructed with Invista lycra for dynamic, multi-directional stretch, support, and comfort.

These are also available on Amazon: Men’s 2XU and Women’s 2XU

2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Tights

Additionally, 2XU has the Refresh Recovery Compression Tights that utilize moderate graduated compression without the over-the-foot stirrup design.

Athletes wearing 2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Tights.

Shop at 2XU: Women’s 2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Tights

Shop at 2XU: Men’s 2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Tights

2XU recovery compression tights are designed with a signature Power-Weight-Flex fabric that provides strong compression, a lightweight feel, and maximum flexibility. These tights also have moisture wicking technology and flatlock seams to prevent chafing.

These are also available on Amazon: Men’s 2XU and Women’s 2XU

2. Foam Rollers

As our collective knowledge of muscle recovery and its importance for athletes expands, we’re seeing the widespread adoption of effective garments and devices by athletes. Foam rollers, in particular, have gone from a helpful extra to an essential tool for many athletes.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is one of the most popular foam rollers available and for good reason. In fact, if you’re an athlete or fitness aficionado, there’s a good chance you’ve seen these around. It has a great look that comes in a variety of colors with a sleek and effective design.

Athletes using TriggerPoint GRID Foam Rollers.

Shop at TriggerPoint: GRID Foam Roller 13” Length

Shop at TriggerPoint: GRID Foam Roller 26” Length

The GRID Foam Roller was the first to utilize a firm, hollow core. It also features a patented foam surface with a patterned design optimized to roll tight muscles, knots, and target areas.

Sports doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors recommend the GRID Foam Roller for releasing muscle pain and tightness, as well as improving flexibility and circulation.


  • Superior EVA foam for effective treatment.

  • Durable construction for repeated use.

  • Tested to withstand up to 500 pounds.

  • 3-dimensional surface promotes blood flow and oxygen.

  • Great for beginner and advanced.

Want to step your recovery up a notch? Try the GRID Vibe Plus. All the features offered by the original GRID Foam Roller with the addition of massaging vibrations.

3. Massage Guns

You’ve no doubt seen these all over recently, just turn on any professional sporting event and you’ll see athletes on the sidelines working their muscles over with massage guns.

But these aren’t just for professionals, as massage guns are an effective and easy-to-use tool for any active individual. Moreover, they’re even useful for everyday muscle relaxation: cramps from desk-sitting, stressful commutes, and so on.

Therabody Theragun Pro

There’s been an explosion of brands producing massage guns lately, so we’ll start with the gold standard, which is the Theragun Pro by Therabody. The Theragun Pro reaches 60% deeper into muscle than average massagers for a true deep muscle treatment.

Athlete using Therabody Theragun Pro massage gun.

Shop at Therabody: Theragun Pro

Available on Amazon: Theragun Pro

Therabody’s Theragun Pro has a brushless motor with QuietForce Technology to deliver quiet force that’s adjustable with Active Torque Control. This massage gun has professional-grade durability and an industry-best 2-year warranty.


  • Rotating Arm and Ergonomic Multi-Grip.

  • 300-Minute Total Battery Life.

  • Smart App Integration with Bluetooth.

  • Customizable Speed Range.

  • Includes 6 Attachment Heads.

Hyperice Hypervolt GO

Hyperice massage guns are a common sight on the benches and sidelines of professional sports teams. And their new Hypervolt GO is a budget-friendly option that comes in a smaller, lighter, and more portable design.

Athlete using Hyperice Hypervolt GO massage gun.

Shop at Hyperice: Hypervolt Go

Available on Amazon: Hypervolt Go

The Hypervolt GO has a perfect handheld ergonomic design that’s easy to use and take with you as you move. This massage gun is light but powerful and uses QuietGlide technology for nearly silent use.


  • Ultra-lightweight 1.5 pounds.

  • 2.5+ hours of battery life per charge.

  • 3 adjustable massage speeds.

  • Includes 2 head attachments.

TriggerPoint Impact Massage Gun

Another great budget-friendly massage gun that’s designed by a leading athletic performance company is the TriggerPoint Impact Massage Gun. This massage gun utilizes percussive therapy to increase blood flow to your muscles and increase range of motion.

Athlete using TriggerPoint Impact massage gun.

Shop at TriggerPoint: TriggerPoint Impact Massage Gun

The TriggerPoint Impact Massage Gun has an angled handle design and evenly distributes weight for optimal comfort and control. Its ergonomic shape allows you to better target all areas of your body for deep tissue massage.


  • 4 Different Intensity Levels: 2100 – 3300 RPM.

  • Quiet Brushless Motor.

  • Angled handle for balanced weight and control.

  • Battery lasts for 2+ hours of continuous massage.

4. Muscle Stimulators

Apart from massage guns, there are some great new options in the world of electric muscle stimulation (or EMS). These muscle stimulation products allow you to target specific areas and body parts to relieve pain and improve muscle recovery.

PowerDot Muscle Stimulator

EMS devices work by sending electrical impulses to the targeted muscle, which promotes both Type 1 (slow-twitch) and Type 2 (fast-twitch) muscle fiber contraction. The PowerDot’s technology creates electro-induced hyperfusion to flush out lactic acid, reduce inflammation, and supply oxygen-rich blood to your muscle tissue—essential for boosting recovery.

Athlete using PowerDot Muscle Stimulator.

Shop at PowerDot: PowerDot Muscle Stimulator

Also, it’s worth noting that the PowerDot Muscle Stimulator can help athletes accelerate soft-tissue injury rehabilitation. Its technology is scientifically proven to support the body’s natural ability to recover from muscle sprains, strains, pulls, and knots.

5. Recovery-Focused Supplements

While many athletes are well versed on the important role that protein plays in the recovery process, collagen supplements are now making their way into many recovery routines, as well.

So, what is collagen exactly? It’s the main structural protein of our body’s various connective tissues. Adding collagen to your recovery supports the health of your muscles, tendons, bones, and joints. Plus, enjoy the added benefits of healthier hair, nails, and skin.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins is a leading brand in the collagen supplement world and their Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is a best-seller. In addition to the great collagen benefits, it includes hyaluronic acid to promote skin hydration and elasticity.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides used in a fruit smoothie.

Shop at Vital Proteins: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Available on Amazon: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides powder is easy to use and dissolves in both hot and cold liquids, such as coffee, tea, smoothies, and so on. It’s paleo-friendly, Whole30 approved, and made without gluten, dairy, or added sugars.

Vital Proteins Performance Recover

And since we’re focused on recovery here, it’s worth noting that Vital Proteins has a version specifically aimed at boosting recovery.

The Performance Recover version contains replenishing electrolytes, a blend of antioxidants and minerals for immune support, and BCAA to combat muscles soreness and promote muscle recovery.

Shop at Vital Proteins: Vital Proteins Performance Recover

Available on Amazon: Vital Proteins Performance Recover

6. Wearable Health Trackers

Here’s another newer-to-the-game recovery tool that’s been exploding in popularity recently: wearable health trackers.

While wearable health and fitness devices have been around for several years now, they’re enjoying a new wave of interest thanks to tech and design advancements.

In other words, these devices have become easy to incorporate into active lifestyles while producing meaningful feedback and information to the user.

Biostrap EVO

Of the many devices out there, the Biostrap EVO is one of the most accessible and impressive. It works as a personal health monitor that provides actionable insights on sleep quality, recovery, nocturnal biometrics and more.

Athlete wearing Biostrap EVO personal health monitor.

Shop at Biostrap: Biostrap EVO Recover Set

The Biostrap EVO measures sleep stages, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, arterial elasticity, and peripheral elasticity. Additionally, you can further customize your monitoring and measurements with add-ons.


  • Raw Waveform Optical Sensor.

  • IP68 Water-Resistant.

  • 2.5 Day Battery Life.

  • 8MB Flash Storage.

The Biostrap EVO comes in three different sets to meet different needs:

  1. Recovery Set: Great for Sleep and Recovery.

  2. Move Set: Great for sleep, recovery and movement tracking.

  3. Active Set: Great for sleep, recovery and exercise tracking.

Helpful Tips for Using Muscle Recovery Tools

Remember! Whenever you begin incorporating new muscle recovery tools into your fitness routine, such as those mentioned above, take a little time to learn the proper use of your new product.

And if you have any personal health questions related to the new fitness tool, be sure to consult your physician or physical therapist. Always heed any advice or instruction given to you by a healthcare professional.

Athlete using massage gun for muscle recovery.

Additionally, it’s always a great practice to find some helpful resources and guides put forth by certified professionals to assist your use with these products. For example, if you’ve begun using a foam roller for the first time, learning the proper technique from a physical therapist can help to maximize your recovery.

Here are some great professional resources available on Youtube:

Learning the right method will help you avoid common and unfortunate pitfalls that can actually cause more harm than good—like this common foam roller mistake!

Can Muscle Recovery Tools Boost Athletic Performance?

While it may not receive all the glory and attention, how you utilize the time between workouts or competitions plays a big role in how your next athletic performance will go. Specifically, we’re talking about muscle rest and recovery.

Muscle recovery tools in particular can boost your athletic performance in a number of different ways. What’s so useful about the recovery tools listed above is that their use extends beyond just recovery. They can be used for every aspect of athletic performance: warming up, training, cooling down, and recovery.

In the same way that the compression garments and muscle recovery devices increase blood flow to the applied areas for recovery, this process is also great for warming up your muscles pre-activity.

When we’re talking muscle recovery, this can be an important step. Taking the time to properly warm up and cool down will decrease your risk of muscle strain, sprain, and other injury. With less swelling and inflammation post-activity, your recovery efforts will work quicker and have you ready to go again sooner.

And when it comes to utilizing compression garments for your muscle recovery efforts, be sure to check out our Compression Fit Guide and Best Care Guide.

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