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  • Compression Athlete

Tackle Muscle Soreness with These Top Recovery Tools 2023

Proven picks guaranteed to get you back in action faster.

Male athlete using 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 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 in each category of muscle recovery, from massage guns and foam rollers to wearables and supplements.


Our picks prioritize items that are tried and true and easy to incorporate into your fitness routines and everyday life.



How We Made Our Top Recovery Tool Picks


To be clear, there are lots of great muscle recovery gadgets, gear, supplements, and more, readily available to athletes today.


So, we’re by no means suggesting that these picks are the only worthwhile options in their respective categories.


In making these picks, we applied the following formula: Performance x Price x Convenience.


In other words, we’re looking for super effective options that are cost friendly and very simple to use.


We also went with picks from companies that have great reputations, proven track records, and science to back up their claims.



Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.



Massage Gun Top Pick: Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2


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 massage guns aren’t just for professional athletes. They’re an effective and easy-to-use tool for any active individual.


Moreover, massage guns are even useful for everyday muscle relaxation: cramps from desk-sitting, stressful commutes, and so on.


There’s been an explosion of brands producing massage guns lately, so it’s totally understandable if you’re a bit overwhelmed by all the options.


For our massage gun top pick, we went with the Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2.


Hyperice is an industry leader when it comes to muscle recovery, offering a wide variety of innovative products for athletes.


Athlete using Hypervolt Go 2.

Available on Amazon: Hypervolt Go 2


Their Hypervolt massage guns are a common sight on the benches and sidelines of professional sports teams.


And their new Hypervolt Go 2 is a budget-friendly option that comes in a smaller, lighter, and more portable design.


Of all the massage guns out there, the Hypervolt Go 2 is the best combination of simple to use, cost friendly, and noticeably effective, not to mention comes in a super convenient size.


The Hypervolt Go 2 has a perfect handheld ergonomic design that’s easy to use and take with you when you’re on the move.


This massage gun is light but powerful and uses QuietGlide technology for nearly silent use.


Features:

  • Ultra-lightweight 1.5 pounds.

  • Up to 3 hours of battery life per charge.

  • 3 adjustable percussion speeds.

  • Includes 2 head attachments (flat, bullet).


Summary: A no-regrets massage gun that you’ll be glad is in your gym bag.



Foam Roller Top Pick: TriggerPoint GRID


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.


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.

Available on Amazon: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller


The GRID Foam Roller was the first to utilize a firm, hollow core for improved effectiveness.


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.


Features:

  • 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.


Summary: A great investment for warm-ups, cool-downs, tight muscles, and hunched backs.



Wearable Fitness Tracker Top Pick: Biostrap EVO


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 several 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.


Athlete using Biostrap EVO Recover Set.

Shop at Biostrap: Biostrap EVO Recover Set


It works as a personal health monitor that provides actionable insights on sleep quality, recovery, nocturnal biometrics and more.


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.


Features:

  • 3-Axis Accelerometer.

  • 3-Axis Gyroscope.

  • Raw Waveform Optical Sensor.

  • IP68 Water-Resistant.

  • 2.5 Day Battery Life.

  • 8MB Flash Storage.


Summary: An easy to incorporate and non-burdensome wearable with meaningful insights.



Compression Therapy Top Pick: Rapid Reboot


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.


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.


Athletes using Rapid Reboot Compression Boots.

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.


Features:

  • 10 Pressure Levels.

  • 3 Time Settings.

  • Position Isolation with Indicator.

  • Quiet Session.

  • At Home Compression Massager.


Compression boots tend to be the most popular compression therapy choice, as they’re widely applicable across the world of sports.


However, there are several other options from Rapid Reboot that focus on the arms, hips and more.


Summary: For goal-crushing athletes that are serious about performance and recovery.



Recovery-Focused Compression Gear Top Pick: 2XU


While you might be aware that compression garments are great for exercising in (we’ve compiled 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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Summary: Stylish and effective. A more literal interpretation of “look good, feel good.”



Recovery-Focused Supplement Top Pick: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides


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 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 smoothie.

Shop at Vital Proteins: 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.


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


Summary: Here for the recovery benefits, but plenty of reasons to add it to your routine.



Recovery Patch Top Pick: KT Recovery+


Sometimes you need a little quick and easy relief from muscle pain, swelling, or inflammation.


And while there are medications that can help with this, recovery patches are a natural drug-free option that can reduce pain and promote healing.


KT Tape is a leader in the sports medicine industry recognized for their superior kinesiology tape and other recovery products.


The KT Recovery+ Patch is a convenient precut patch that provides targeted relief from swelling and inflammation with a simple application that increases lymphatic drainage.


Athlete using KT Recovery+ Patch.

Shop at KT Tape: KT Recovery+ Patch


These recovery patches have a breathable woven design, easily conform to your skin for full mobility, and can be combined or overlapped to cover larger areas.


Features:

  • 4 patches per box.

  • Water resistant materials.

  • Last for up to 3 days.

  • 100% cotton fibers with elastic cores.

  • Latex-free adhesive.


Summary: Quick, convenient, targeted relief. Slap it on and let it do the rest.



Muscle Stimulator Top Pick: PowerDot


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.


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.

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.


Summary: Perfect choice for targeted relief and injury rehab.



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.


Male 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 massage gun or foam roller for the first time, learning the proper technique from a physical therapist can help to maximize your recovery.


Learning the right methods will help you avoid common and unfortunate pitfalls that can actually cause more harm than good.



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 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.


Female athlete using foam roller for muscle 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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