Tackle Muscle Soreness With These Top Recovery Tools 2022
Proven picks guaranteed to get you back in action faster.
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 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 everyday life.
Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.
1. 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.
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.
2. 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.
Shop at Therabody: Theragun Pro
Available on Amazon: Theragun Pro
Therabody’s Theragun Pro has a brushless motor with QuietForce Technology to deliver quiet massaging 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.
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.
3. Recovery-Focused Compression Wear
While you might be aware that compression garments are great for exercising in (we’ve compiled a list of the many benefits here), 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, check out 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.
Shop at 2XU: Women’s 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights
Shop at 2XU: Men’s 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights
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.
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.
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.
4. 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.
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
5. Wearable Sleep & Activity Trackers
Here’s another newer-to-the-game recovery tool that’s been exploding in popularity recently: wearable fitness 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.
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.
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.
2.5 Day Battery Life.
8MB Flash Storage.
6. Compression Therapy
Serious about your muscle recovery and want to kick things up a notch? Then, you’ll want to give compression therapy a try.
Compression therapy allows you to apply gentle pressure to your legs (and other body parts), which boosts circulation, relieves muscle tension, removes toxins through the lymphatic system, and much more.
Best of all, compression therapy is backed by science to accelerate recovery, prevent injury, and improve performance.
Rapid Reboot Compression Boots
One of the leaders in compression therapy is Rapid Reboot, using an FDA-cleared compression technology.
Their compression boots are an at-home recovery system that help athletes recover faster, improve lymphatic function, release muscle tension, eliminate soreness, and improve mobility.
Available on Amazon: Rapid Reboot Compression Boots
The Rapid Reboot Compression Boots feature a durable rip-stop fabric, a comfortable seamless interior, and four chambers for your feet, calves, knees, and thighs/hamstrings.
These compression boots come in 5 sizes to fit all athletes and are available in a 3-pocket foot design.
10 Pressure Levels.
3 Time Settings.
Position Isolation with Indicator.
At Home Compression Massager.
See more Rapid Reboot recovery tools for arms, hips, and more.
7. 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.
Available on Amazon: 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.
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.
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.
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.