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Personal Fitness

  1. Why Buy Compex®?

    Written by Danielle Nederend

    Why buy Compex

    Best in Fitness: Workout Secrets and Where to Find Them

    From yoga mats and ankle weights to bands and recovery tools, the online fitness marketplace is full of options, as in any category. As consumers search for their next product to maximize fitness and wellness, we offer expert insight on why Compex®  is the one to add to their cart.

    How to do the best workout at home?

    Fitness is perhaps more popular than ever. People are looking for new effective ways to optimize their workouts and speed up recovery time. Studies show that more and more consumers are purchasing fitness equipment to use at home. No longer just for physical therapy or the seemingly ‘intense’ athlete, utilizing at-home tools is the new norm in wellness.

    So if you’re going to spend your hard-earned dollars to do your best workout at home to improve fitness, would you not want those purchases to be for quality products?

    This, apparently, is the question. Consumers are finding knockoff options available online. Save a dollar now, but the product quality is not going to deliver the results you’re hoping for. Which is exactly why we’re here sharing our solutions for the best in fitness to make the most of your wellness dollars. Carry on.

    How can I improve my fitness?

    Seeming to be a secret among elite level athletes and fitness enthusiasts, electric muscle stimulation (EMS) majorly impacts the efficiency and results of a workout. By engaging a higher percentage of muscle fibers than without, EMS maximizes muscle effort at work. So while you do the same exercise you would typically do, adding EMS to your workout makes it that much more impactful. If you work out at home, you’re likely going for efficiency anyway - so why not use the best in fitness to make the most of your sweat?

    When you add Compex® EMS to your training, you’re able to increase strength and explosiveness while building more muscle in less time than without EMS. Targeting specific muscle groups while you exercise will now get you more bang for your buck. Clinical trials show that you’ll also increase your VO2 max - meaning you’ll be able to take in more oxygen while you workout, so your body can use more energy.

    Approved by professional athletes, Compex was created for anyone looking to improve their overall wellness. Not just for those at an elite level, but for the person working out at home, looking to uphold their health.

    If you’re looking to improve fitness, look at adding Compex products into your workout regime. Regardless of your fitness goals, using muscle stimulators will make your workout that much more effective. Don’t think twice about giving the knock-off options available online a shot. The high value of Compex ensures the longevity of your purchase - so you can continue improving your fitness at a high quality over time.

    What is the best way to speed up recovery?

    In addition to improving your fitness, Compex products complement the work you do by reducing recovery time. A top search among wellness consumers as of late has been for the best massage gun. Known for their percussive massage therapy, these devices apply quick jolts of pressure to relax and calm sore muscles. However, not all massage guns are created equal. First off, the number of percussions per second (PPS) is a major contributing factor to the effectiveness of a massage gun. The noise it produces while massaging is also important, for the user’s overall enjoyment while using. Of course, the device’s longevity also plays a major role in its overall value.

    Compex is here to tell you that quality is vital when selecting your tools for fitness and recovery. Choosing a knockoff brand because of a lower price point will give you exactly that - less percussion per second (resulting in less pressure, so less impactful), shorter product life, and most likely will be louder while in use. Lower price point yielding lower value. Since a knockoff brand, not the best massage gun option, is typically less ergonomic and offers less customizability with accessories, users will often experience pain from twisting in uncomfortable positions to reach the area they want.

    On the contrary, Compex® strives to give value you’re looking for in your fitness tools. With both 3-speed and 5-speed options, along with interchangeable accessories to pinpoint specific areas on the body, Compex makes your massage therapy the best it can be. Plus, with 50 hits per second at a force 70% deeper than the average massage gun, the Compex® Fixx™ 2.0 Massager seems like the obvious choice.

    Send blood flow to tissues impacted to flush out lactic acid, and your recovery game is that much stronger. Not only will you speed up the rate of recovery when using Compex, but clinical studies show that you will likely gain strength back as well.

    What are top tools for fitness?

    It’s quite clear that many of us are trying to make the most of our workouts. Whether recovering from surgery, finding the best workout at home, exercising to stay active or training for an upcoming 5K, training and recovery is invaluable. Likewise, the tools we implement to optimize our workouts also matter. If we’re dedicating time and money toward our fitness journeys, experts recommend choosing the clinically tested, professional athlete approved tool. Here are a few tools for fitness to highlight:

    • Compex Massage Gun: Warm up before a workout and relieve stiffness after to speed up recovery with one of the best massage guns out there. Tailored for your needs with interchangeable tips, the Fixx™ 2.0 is here to do just that: fix your ailments
    • Compex Muscle Stim 3.0: With 4 different programs to stimulate healthy muscles, use the Edge 3.0 as part of your warmup and to increase endurance. 
    • Compex Wireless USA: With 10 different programs can help enhance your performance, speed up recovery. 
    • Wireless Mini Muscle Stim: With 6 programs and smaller in size, use the Mini for explosive movements and recovery

     

    Compex has been a global leader in muscle stim technology for over 30 years. Emphasizing muscle recovery, injury prevention and training programs, Compex wants each of us, the everyday active individual, to get the most out of our workouts. Time to jump in on the secret, don’t you think?

    Sources

    The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.

  2. Training with Compex®: How to Improve Your Workout Anywhere

    Written by Danielle Nederend

    Believe us when we tell you that using Compex is not complex. These products were created to offer the best training experience for any workout level. While technology like this would often be associated with competitive athlete’s training regimes, the founders of Compex created these for anyone looking to improve their physical fitness. Whether increasing core strength, running one mile or one marathon, or making the most of your at-home workout to hit a homerun in the neighborhood kickball game, integrate Compex into your training and watch your results soar. 

    Make the Most of At Home Workout Equipment

    Think about what workout equipment you use right now to target multiple body parts. Is it convenient? Can you take it with you anywhere? Does it work for various muscle groups? Well, it turns out that Compex can answer yes to each of these questions. Whether amplifying your V-ups to target abs, spiking the intensity of single leg deadlifts to strengthen hamstrings, or even placing on your back to advance your static hang or pull-up, Compex muscle stimulators really do increase the effect of any muscular movement. Anywhere you want it. 

    Just as your yoga mat, resistance bands, and one or two sets of light dumbbells have now become part of the background of your living room - consider Compex to fit in this same at-home workout category. We’re seeing how technology is being integrated into regular areas of daily life in… well, pretty much every aspect of life. We talk to Alexa to play music, our smart watch indicates how many steps we’ve gotten in, and a sleep monitor of choice informs us how quality our dreaming hours are. Just as technology is improving and enhancing other areas of life at home, so can Compex make your workout the best it can be. 

    Get Benefits of Weight Training Without Weights

    Remember in the early times of Covid-19, when dumbbells and kettlebells were sold out everywhere? With worldwide gym closures, people rushed to get their hands on weights for at-home workouts. For good reason: continuous research shows the vast benefits of training with weights - from increasing muscle mass to strengthening bones and joints. Imagine seeing the same benefits that weight training yields by using equipment much more convenient to access, or even store in your home. 

    Compex® muscle stimulators do just that. By maximizing the muscle fibers while training, Compex majorly increases the strain placed on muscles. This efficiently impacts your workout, sparking your training to increase strength, muscle mass and explosiveness in less time. Just as weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells take your workout to the next level, Compex simulates increasing the load placed on the muscle - no bells required. So you can opt to lift weights without the bells and whistles. 

    Get Results Faster From Workouts

    In a world of efficiency and maximizing time, we know that making time for your workout doesn’t always get its desired placement in your priority list. The phone rings, the baby cries, the couch finally gets delivered. With these day-to-day happenings, sometimes a workout just gets kicked to the curb. Which is why Compex is such a game changer by making your workout more efficient. 

    When you place the muscle stimulators on particular muscle groups, those muscles are instantly stimulated. Flexing and working weakened muscles that wouldn’t usually be targeted increases the effectiveness of the workout. So if you’re working out at home, or in the gym, or prepping for your sport - wouldn’t you be interested to see how you could make your workout even more efficient? To get a better bang for your buck since you’re already out there sweating? Add Compex to your at-home workout equipment to make your sweat work even harder for you.

    Use At Home For Faster Recovery

    We’ve been told that recovery is important for the lifetime of our muscles, and particularly the longevity of our bodies functioning well. Time and professional athletes are proving over and over again how necessary recovery is to prolong our wellness. With Steph Curry being out from training just prior to NBA Playoffs due to an ankle sprain, and Mets pitcher Max Scherzer opting out from pitching because of a strained oblique, we see how injury prevention and recovery is an ingredient you can’t go without in your training. Not to say that we’re all training at the level that Curry and Scherzer are, but if you could improve your muscle recovery time with a simple application of Compex… what would hold you back?

    When you use EMS (electric muscle stimulators), the electric impulses cause muscles to contract, which supplies a number of benefits. Blood flow to the tissue area involved is increased, which plays a role in repairing the muscle groups. When unused or weaker muscle groups are contracted and flexed, they grow in strength and put off the muscle atrophy process. By teaching muscle fibers to respond to certain patterns, they build strength. So while the sticky pads of muscle stimulators are placed in the targeted areas, they not only aid in recovery - they also strengthen and rebuild the muscle groups. 

    So whether you use it to aid in your recovery at-home, to make the most of the short time you’re able to squeeze in a workout while the toddlers are asleep, or to level up the workouts you would typically wish you had weights for, Compex is the solution for you. With simple application videos available to target any desired muscle group, you can reap the benefits of training with Compex. It just takes getting started. 

    To learn more about Compex and find the right product for you, visit: https://www.compex.com/training

    References

    The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.

  3. The Ion®, Molecule® & the Future.

    by Webb Travis

    If you haven’t heard by now, the fitness world has been changing drastically. Not just with people’s performances, but also with their “down time,” preparation, recovery and ergonomics. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “train hard, train smart.” Well, the better term now is “Train Hard, Recover Harder.” I’m going to tell you about Compex’s newest tools of choice, the Ion® Vibrating Roller & the Molecule® Vibrating Ball.

    The whole science of these two products and their effect on the body comes from the combination of vibration technology and pressure which trigger both a myofascial release and muscle activation. The vibration causes the muscle to “turn on” and recruit blood to the muscle. Once this happens, the “gate theory” begins, where the “flood gates” start to open-up and all the surrounding muscle fibers are beginning to turn on and release any tightness that maybe occurring. While that is happening, the pressure of the body onto of the device of your choice, is creating a myofascial release that will allow your muscles & joints to increase their range of motion by loosening your fascia. This release is not only going to increase your mobility, but it can also get your whole body braced and ready for any challenge presented if prepared properly.

    The Compex® Ion® is an amazing tool that I personally use weekly to help provide relief to certain muscles. Not only am I using the Ion to help relieve my sore and stiff muscles, but by using this vibrating technology, I am able to activate my muscles in a movement preparation that I couldn’t have done 10 years ago. I roll out my hamstrings, quadriceps & glutes all of these muscles are constantly tight as a result from my intense strength training program, my running routine & my Jiu Jitsu. By using the four vibration levels of the Ion, I am able to penetrate my muscles and reach all the deep layers of muscle tissue. What use to take me 15-20 minutes of foam rolling, can now be accomplished in 5-8 minutes. This allows me more time for my training and also keeps my non-renewable resource, time, on my side. I’m also not a small guy, I’m 6’4”, 230 lbs and this roller feels like it is indestructible. Along with myself using the roller, I work with a variety of Mixed Martial Artist Fighters. From Muay Thai, jiu jitsu, boxing, wrestling and more, I am able to have my clients use the Compex Ion as part of their warm-up and cool down process.

    The Ion isn’t alone in allowing my fighters, training clients and myself to be prepped and ready for action. The Compex® Molecule® is just as amazing as the Ion, if not better because of durability, intensity, and efficiency because of its compact nature. Both of these tools have the ability to help increase blood flow, reduce next day soreness, release knots and tension, improve range of motion, help prevent injury, increase performance, relax and loosen muscles for soft tissue massage. By utilizing both of these tools, we are able to aid in the relief of sore or aching muscles from the exercise or recreational activities of choice.

    In clinical studies from both the Journal of Athletic Training & Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, foam rolling reduced DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and increased the of flexibility of the targeted muscle groups, and the clear vision of what the future of fitness was going to look like. In the study with Journal of Athletic Training, the controlled group showed that foam rolling showed a dramatic and effective increase in the participants range of motion. Along with a noticeable increase in their capability of the dynamic performance that was being done post-warm up. In comparison to the other control group, who was simple doing static and dynamic stretching.

    One of my clients, is the fighter Nathan “Carnage” Corbett, 11x Muay Thai World Champion, and WBC Muay Thai Hall of Fame. After three decades of intense fighting, training, traveling and more, Nathan received a double hip replacement in 2019. Since then, he continues to train, coach and travel to spread his experience, knowledge and love of his craft. Nathan has been wearing his body out and the “old school” recovery methods for some of these athletes, is to simply take an ice bath, sauna, and the occasional massage. In the last month of working with Nathan, I was able to take away the stiffness, pain, and discomfort he was dealing with. By simply having him use the Ion & Molecule before any of his “Carnage Elbow System” workshops or long training days. He’s now able to kick, punch, spar and move the same if not better than when he was in his prime over 2 decades ago thanks to utilizing Compex’s products.

    One of the easiest selling points, is the size of both of these tools. They can fit snuggling into a backpack, a carry-on, hand-bag, and a laptop bag with ease. Along with the sleek and sexy look, the modeled finish of the product allows for good gripping on your body’s surface as you release and warm up your muscles.

    The future is upon us, and if you haven’t noticed that we are finding ways for humans to live longer, athletes to increase their careers, and people to not have to suffer from injuries. We don’t need to deal with the pain anymore, instead we need embrace the “pain” with the right tools so we can progress further. Using the Compex Ion & Molecule is a must-do in my fitness routine, along with all my clients. They are all feeling and seeing the benefit of each. What are you going to do to benefit yourself and your training goals? What can Compex do for your current training regime? Remember, if you are going to train hard, you have to recover harder.

     

    *Compex®, Ion®, Molecule® are registered trademarks of DJO, LLC

    Summarized study results from:
    Pearcey, GE., et al. Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of Athletic Training. January 2015; 50(1): 5-13.
    Su, H., et al. Acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching during warm-ups on muscular flexibility, and strength in young adults. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. November 2017; 26 (6):469-477.

    The contents of this blog were independently prepared, and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.

     

  4. COMPEX® AYRE™ WIRELESS COMPRESSION BOOTS

    Introducing Compex ® AYRE™ Wireless Compression Boots

    All-in compression for all out performance. Feel the power of compression in your recovery routine – Compex® AYRE Wireless Compression Boots 

    Muscle soreness can affect anyone, regardless of your fitness level or activity. Soreness can occur after you try a new workout, push your intensity level, or increasing the duration of your workout, and is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, oDOMS. But good news, Compex AYRE can help aid the relief of DOMS 

    The microscopic damage made to the muscle tissue during activity causes a buildup of lactic acid. The compression treatment provided by the Ayre boots will help work to break up these small molecules and send stimulus to your nervous system. These compression boots are designed to help improve blood flow and circulation in the legs by mobilizing lactic acid, access fluids, and other toxins. Compex Ayre uses a dynamic pulsing compression up the limbs in waves for the duration of its use, which helps promote quick healing.  

    Rest, ice packs, over-the-counter pain relievers, and massages can only take you so far on your road to recovery. Accelerate the healing process by incorporating a 60-minute compression session that can help prepare you to go all-out the next day. Don’t worry about tethering your recovery to a space near a power outlet either. The Compex AYRE boots are wireless and rechargeable for easy use anywhere, anytime. Simply find a comfy spot to sit, put on the boots, and enjoy the compression recovery for up to 60 minutes.  

     

    Individual Results May Vary
    The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary. Neither DJO Global, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries dispense medical advice. The contents of this blog do not constitute medical, legal, or any other type of professional advice. Rather, please consult your healthcare professional for information on the courses of treatment, if any, which may be appropriate for you.
  5. Bespoke Physical Therapy Using Compex Muscle Stim

    This article was written by Daniel Girodano, a physical therapist at Bespoke in New York. Their therapists have the highest levels of expertise through first class education and elite experience. It is their passion that drives them to design the very best and customized treatment programs to optimize your recovery and performance.

    “COMPEX is a muscle stimulation AKA neuromuscular electrical stimulation, NMES, unit that works by sending electronic pulses to your motor nerves in order to create muscle contractions. It can be used to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, decrease pain, decrease edema or swelling, and improve strength by initiating muscle fiber recruitment.

    There are many ways that you can use muscle stimulation. During the course of my day, I will use muscle stim on patients during their warm-up, strength, and/or their recovery portion of their treatment.

    As a warm-up I will use the Compex PreWarmup setting (7 Hz) in order to help warm up the muscle you are targeting by improving blood circulation, bringing blood and oxygen to the muscle, in order to prep the muscle. For example, if my patient is feeling very tight in his or her calves prior to activity, I will use the Compex pre-warm up on his or her calf muscles as we move through a dynamic warm-up. Using muscle stim in combination with your warm-up will make sure you are ready for sport.

    Have you ever had trouble understanding where you be feeling the exercise or having trouble ‘activating’ a muscle? Have you just wanted extra recruitment in the quads during squats? These are all perfect times to use the Compex Resistance Setting. During the workout, I use the Compex Resistance Setting (around 70 Hz with rest intervals) on a specific muscle group in order to recruit more muscle fibers. This will help you understand the contraction better by using the muscle stim to help feel the muscle contract or to help improve strength by making the training more effective and efficient.

    Using muscle stim for recovery is probably the most common way of using muscle stim, but why? I tend to use the Compex Active Recovery (9 to 1 Hz intervals) or the Compex Pre Warmup setting in order to improve circulation and bring fresh blood and oxygen to the targeted muscles. By improving circulation, you are facilitating toxin removal and speeding up your recovery

    If you have any questions about NMES contact your local physical therapist before application. Avoid placement of electrodes across the chest, anywhere above the neck, or near your genitals — also avoid open wounds, rashes, or infected, red, or inflamed areas More often than not, I personally see people using it completely wrong on their own. Educate yourself prior to using the machine, everyone is different and not everyone can handle the same amount of stim.”

    Dan Giordano, PT, DPT, CSCS
    Bespoke Treatments

  6. What Is a Muscle Stimulator

    What Is a Muscle Stimulator

    Your body contains 650 different muscles that provide your body with the strength, shape and tone to deliver ultimate athletic performance, from explosive dunks to sprinting several meters in a matter of seconds. Building muscle can be something of a mystery. You lift weights, you maintain the right diet, and your muscles grow, right?

    Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. Whether you’re hitting a plateau or just not getting the results you’re looking for, building and maintaining strength and muscle mass sometimes requires that extra push. That’s where muscle stimulators come into the picture. What are muscle stimulators? What does a muscle stimulator do? Read on to learn more.

    Understanding Muscles

    While you know your muscles contribute to strength, mass and every basic movement and activity that you perform, they are also essential to maintaining good posture and transporting blood and other fluids throughout the body.

    The average human body has 650 known, scientifically named muscles, though this number can grow to over 800 if you break down some of the individual muscle groups. These muscles typically make up one-third to one-half of your total body weight. There are three main types of muscles. Visceral muscles are found inside blood vessels and some organs. They are the weakest muscles and work to move things through your system. Visceral muscles in your intestines, for instance, move food through your digestive system. These are involuntary muscles, meaning you can’t consciously control them.

    The cardiac muscle is what keeps your heart ticking, allowing it to pump blood throughout your body. Cardiac muscle tissue is also involuntary and controlled by a combination of hormones, brain signals, and its own internal systems. As you can imagine, cardio exercise is good for cardio muscles.

    Skeletal muscle is what you know and love. These muscles connect to (usually) two bones across one joint, allowing them to move. Skeletal muscles are the only voluntary muscles. They are responsible for every conscious movement you perform and are susceptible to growth and muscle atrophy based on use or disuse.

    How Muscles Grow

    Each muscle is actually comprised of hundreds of thin fibers known as myofibrils. When you lift weights, do a pushup or otherwise perform an activity, those fibers contract and retract. If the weight you are trying to lift is heavy, your brain sends signals to your muscles to generate the force necessary to lift the weight up.

    If the object is heavier than you’re used to or if you perform the action repeatedly, you essentially expose your muscles to stress, which creates a controlled muscle tear. This explains the soreness after a solid workout. When your myofibrils have torn, the body activates the immune system to repair the damaged fibers, often making them stronger and larger in the process.

    Unfortunately for your muscles, the human body is good at adapting. That means that maintaining the same workout routines day after day is good for keeping your muscles in shape, but it won’t do much in terms of building up your muscle mass.

    Another component of muscle growth is metabolic stress. Metabolic stress results in the increase of components called metabolites, like lactate, phosphate, and hydrogen. If you’ve felt that burning sensation during or after a workout, you’ve experienced metabolic stress. The accumulation of metabolites essentially causes cells around the muscle fibers to swell. This form of muscle growth, known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, makes your muscles look bigger, but it does not actually contribute to your strength.

    The fact is, while we know how muscles tear and rebuild themselves to get bigger, research still isn’t sure of the best, most optimal way to build muscle mass through exercise. That gets even more complicated taking into account the fact that everyone has different metabolic and muscle growth rates. Some people do better with fewer reps and heavier weights, while others might be better with moderate weight and more reps.

    The Role of Electric Muscle Stimulators

    So what do muscle stimulators do? Do muscle stimulators work? As the label says, these are devices that work to stimulate muscles through electrical impulses. Most electric stimulators comprise of a main device that creates the electric impulse and a series of electrodes consisting of pads that are attached to the skin, near the muscles that you want to stimulate.

    Electric muscle stimulation (EMS), sometimes known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), involves delivering controlled pulses of electricity to your motor nerves. These pulses are meant to simulate the same signals sent by your brain to your muscles, thus causing a muscle contraction.

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is similar in concept, but this specifically aims toward stimulating nerves, not necessarily muscles. Put another way, EMS and NMES target motor nerves, while TENS targets sensory nerves.

    Benefits of Electric Muscle Stimulators

    Compex Muscle Stimulator

    There is a wide range of benefits to electric muscle stimulators as well as applications for athletes and exercise enthusiasts of all experience levels.

    Building Strength

    Applying electric muscle stimulators during training offers an extra level of workout for your muscles. Electric muscle stimulators can engage a greater percentage of muscle fibers at once, allowing you to get even more out of every rep and set. That’s just plain efficient and ultimately equates to:

    • More muscle mass
    • Increased strength
    • Improved endurance and physical stamina

    Electric muscle stimulators also allow you to engage muscles that may not normally receive much attention. That can provide greater physical support and stability.

    Warming Up and Cooling Down

    Warming up your muscles before you exercise is essential to more effective workouts. Warming up is also known to reduce the risk of injury during workouts and physical activities in general. Electric muscle stimulators give you an easy and efficient way to warm up your body so that your muscles are plenty ready for the crux of your routine.

    Once you have finished with your workout, muscle stimulators offer an easy tool for a cool-down session. Cooling down your body post-workout can keep stiffness and soreness to a minimum and keep the blood flow circulating through your muscles.

    Weight Loss

    On its own, electric muscle stimulation likely will not have a huge impact on weight loss, which generally requires exercises that engage your heart, lungs, and multiple muscle groups, all at once. However, when combined with your existing cardio training regimen, electric muscle stimulation can give you the extra edge to burn more calories and fat, leaving you leaner and stronger.

    Muscle Recovery

    One of the hardest parts of any workout is the recovery period, but it’s also necessary to building your muscle fibers back up. Electric muscle stimulation can help to facilitate the recovery process. The gentle stimulation can help to bring blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles while expediting the flushing away of toxins. All of that equates to faster recovery. The process may also help to release endorphins, which can help to dull any soreness or pain.

    Proponents also suggest that EMS works via the gate control theory, which states that the non-painful input from the muscle stimulator can prevent pain sensations from traveling to your central nervous system. That may essentially keep any muscle pain or soreness at bay for an easier recovery process.

    Using Your Electric Muscle Stimulator

    Using a muscle stimulator is generally easy. Simply apply the adhesive pads and follow the instructions for the most optimal settings. Compex muscle stimulators offer a wide range of unique programs for every step of your workout. Beginners should start with the lowest, easiest settings until they get used to the system.

    What are muscle stimulators used for? Muscle stimulators are by no means a replacement for traditional workouts or getting in a “workout” while you’re lounging on the couch. They are a complement and enhancement to your existing training and exercise routines, helping to support your recovery while building muscle strength, stamina and speed. Shop through our Compex muscle stimulators and see the results for yourself.

    Sources:

     

  7. Do Muscle Stimulators Really Work

    Do Muscle Stimulators Really Work

    First, let’s ask the question, what is a muscle stimulator? While once reserved for rehabilitation and physical theory, electric muscle stimulators have become more widely used by professional athletes and amateur enthusiasts alike, offering a new tool to enhance workouts and deliver greater physical performance. Of course, considering the sheer amount of fad diets, health trends, and fitness gimmicks, some healthy suspicion is appropriate. Do muscle stimulators really work? Read on to learn more.

    How Your Muscles Work and Grow

    While your body is also home to cardiac and smooth muscles, skeletal muscles are what you care about. These are the muscles connected to your bones that help you lift, push, pull and perform all of the other movements in your everyday life. Skeletal muscles are the muscles that you can consciously control.

    Contraction is the basic movement of any skeletal muscle. That contraction starts with a signal sent from your brain to motor nerves that tell your muscles to contract. For example, performing a basic curl begins with the brain signaling the nerves in your bicep to contract.

    You get the basics of how a muscle works, but how do muscles grow? Muscles are actually comprised of hundreds of thin fibers known as myofibrils. Working out causes those myofibrils to expand and contract. Lifting something heavier than you’re used to or otherwise putting your muscles through intense exercise creates enough physical stress in your myofibrils to actually damage and tear them. That’s why your muscles feel sore after a workout.

    Your immune system notices that damage and begins the process of repairing and rebuilding those fibers. However, instead of bringing those fibers back the same as they were, muscle fibers get fused together, forming new protein strands that also happen to be thicker, denser, and higher in number. That leaves you with increased mass, improved tone, and a general increase in muscle strength.

    Research has yet to know the most optimal way to build muscle, and considering we all have different metabolic rates and fitness needs, 

    Do Muscle Stimulators Work?

    How do you use a muscle stimulator, and are they effective? Muscle stimulators comprise of electric muscle stimulation, also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation, works off all the same principles that go into basic muscle movement. EMS devices generally comprise a machine that generates electrical impulses and a series of electrodes that attach to your skin. The electric impulses mimic the same signals that your brain sends to your motor nerves, causing your muscles to contract. Settings on the muscle stimulator allow you to control the intensity of these electric pulses, which affects the level of muscle contraction.

    So electric muscle stimulators are at least effective in getting your muscles to contract, but can they do more than that to improve your fitness? In a meta-review, researchers looked at 89 different trials related to the use of electric muscle stimulators and their effects on trained and elite athletes. The results of the study found that EMS was resoundingly effective in enhancing physical performance parameters, which included improvements in:

    • Maximum strength
    • Power
    • Speed strength
    • Vertical jump height
    • Sprint times

    Another study looked at the effects of electric muscle stimulation on jump height in teenage athletes. Over an eight-week training program that combined EMS with plyometric exercises, the teen athletes showed statistically significant improvements in vertical jumping abilities.

    This all shows that electric muscle stimulators do really work. It’s also important to understand that the best results come when muscle stimulators are used in conjunction with existing workout routines and training regimens. While some studies do show that electric muscle stimulation can help with weight loss when used on its own, the effects are limited and tend to taper off. Muscle stimulators on their own have an isolated effect compared to lifting weights, running laps, or performing any other full-body workout that involves strengthening the heart, lungs, and multiple muscle groups.

    How Muscle Stimulators Can Help You

    Electric muscle stimulation benefits you when used in conjunction with an existing workout. But, how can the treatment specifically help you?

    Enhanced Muscles and Strength

    Adding electric stimulation to your training engages a higher percentage of muscle fibers, essentially maximizing your muscle effort to get the most out of every single repetition and movement. That ultimately equates to a more efficient, well-balanced workout.

    Your skeletal muscles are comprised of two different types of fibers. Type 1 is known as slow-twitch fibers. These are more efficient at using oxygen to generate fuel for steady, extended muscle movements and can go for much longer without fatigue. This makes slow-twitch fibers much more attuned for extended endurance and stamina. Type 2 fibers are known as fast-twitch fibers. These tend to fatigue more quickly, but fast-twitch fibers are capable of generating greater force and firing more rapidly, equating to greater power and explosive muscle strength.

    Training these different muscle fiber types isn’t always easy or particularly well understood. Higher reps and exercises requiring slower movements can target slow-twitch muscles, while fast-twitch muscles thrive on fast movements and power exercises. However, many electric muscle stimulators, like those from Compex, work out both types of muscle fibers to give you the best of both worlds: muscular endurance and explosive power.

    Regulating Weight

    As mentioned, EMS on its own generally won’t have an extended effect on weight. In terms of physical activity, weight loss and maintenance requires cardio and full-body workouts. Muscle stimulators are far too isolated on their own to have a huge effect on calories, but incorporating EMS into your training can put you over the edge and add an extra level of intensity to burn calories and reduce fat.

    Warming Up and Cooling Down

    Warming up before a workout has been shown to not only prepare your muscles for a better workout but also reduces the risk of injury. A proper workout gets the blood flowing to the muscles, increases your heart rate, and loosens up the joints. With an electric muscle stimulator, you can warm up more efficiently and optimally, allowing you to prepare your body for your workout.

    Cooling down following your workout is just as important. Going straight from working out to resting is like slamming the brakes in your car. Instead, you want to gently and gradually bring your body back down. This reduces your heart rate, decreases muscle spasms and cramping, and removes the buildup of lactic acid and other waste products in the muscles. Cooldowns can also reduce muscle soreness and support recovery.  A muscle stimulator can provide an easy and effective means of cooling your body down after your exercise routine.

    Muscle Recovery

    The hardest part of building muscle is the recovery period. While it’s a necessary step in rebuilding your muscle fibers to grow bigger and better, it also involves a lot of downtime. Electric muscle stimulators can speed up your muscle recovery by supporting greater blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to your muscles while encouraging the flushing of toxins that contribute to soreness and cramping.

    EMS can also help to keep pain from muscle soreness down, which won’t necessarily speed up recovery, but it can make getting through your day-to-day a lot easier. Part of this comes from muscle stimulators encouraging the release of endorphins, which make you feel good and dampen pain. Muscle stimulators may also relieve pain through the gate control theory. This states that the electric pulses from a muscle stimulator may actually interrupt the pain signals sent to your brain.

    Do muscle stimulators really work? Many studies and anecdotes show that electric muscle stimulators are effective in strengthening and improving physical performance at all skill levels, but it’s important to understand that EMS shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a solid workout. Combine your training with a muscle stimulator for the best results. If you want to see for yourself, take a look through the Compex store to find the right muscle stimulator for your needs.

    Sources:

  8. How to Use a Muscle Stimulator

    How to Use a Muscle Stimulator

    Improving your strength, muscle mass, and endurance often comes down to how hard you grind and the nutrition you put in your body. For years, athletes of all skill levels and backgrounds have been leveraging one tool to give them the edge in improving muscular tone, size, and strength: electric muscle stimulators. They are easy to use and support more efficient workouts. Learn more about how to use electronic muscle stimulator devices below.

    How Electric Muscle Stimulators Work

    From professional ballers to at-home yoga enthusiasts, electric muscle stimulators help to build muscle and make training sessions much more efficient and effective. If you are asking, what is a muscle stimulator, and how does it work? Well, the design of electric muscle stimulators is deceptively simple. Most muscle stimulators comprise a device that sends electric pulses through a series of wires into electrodes. These electrodes are attached to your skin, transmitting the electric pulse directly to your motor nerves. The mechanics mimic the way that your brain sends signals to your muscles, which cause the muscles to contract, resulting in muscle flex and movement.

    On their own, electric muscle stimulators have received mixed results, but when combined with existing training regimens, these devices have offered positive results. In a fairly comprehensive meta-study, researchers looked at 89 trials involving electric muscle stimulators in trained and elite athletes. Study periods ranging from three to six weeks showed significant gains and improvements in several parameters, including:

    • Maximum strength
    • Power
    • Speed strength
    • Sprint times
    • Vertical jump height

    What’s interesting is that, despite their already high level of fitness, these trained, elite athletes improved their strength to the same degree as untrained subjects used in the control group.

    How to Use Electric Muscle Stimulators

    The best part about electric muscle stimulators, aside from their proven effects, is how easy they are to use. Start by attaching the pads to the muscle or muscle group that you want to target. For example, if you are working on your biceps, attach the electrodes to your bicep. Use our electrode placement guides to determine where exactly you should be attaching each electrode. Proper pad placement will provide the best results.

    From there, select your training program of choice via the device’s settings. These can vary but should usually comprise some combination of:

    • Endurance
    • Resistance
    • Strength
    • Active recovery
    • Warm-up

    Workout with the device until the training program finishes. If you find the settings too intense, adjust the levels. Most beginners should start with the lowest settings. Remember that, while the muscle stimulator should provide an extra level to your workout, it shouldn’t be actively painful or cause discomfort.

    Electric muscle stimulators are not meant as a replacement for a workout, meaning that you should be incorporating the muscle stimulators into your existing training routine.

    Most experts also recommend not using muscle stimulators for extended periods of time. Everyone has their own limits for how long the muscle contractions occur. Furthermore, using an electric muscle stimulator too long and too often can make your muscles grow accustomed to them, resulting in plateaus.

    What Muscle Stimulators Can Be Used For

    Muscle stimulators benefits you because they offer incredibly adaptive use that extends through every step of your workout.

    Warming Up

    A proper warm-up before your workout is essential to getting your body ready and has been shown to reduce injury. Unfortunately, too many fitness enthusiasts leap right into exercise without warming up beforehand. With an electric muscle stimulator, warming up is easy and efficient. It can prepare your muscles, get your heart rate up, and keep the blood circulation flowing through your body for the workout to come.

    Efficient Training for Better Gains

    Adding electric muscle stimulators into your workouts engages a higher percentage of muscle fibers, optimizing your workout so that you get the most out of every single repetition. Muscle stimulators can also help you exercise both types of muscle fibers, slow-twitch and fast-twitch.

    Slow-twitch fibers, also known as type 1 fibers, are better at using oxygen for fuel, allowing for steadier muscle contractions over a longer period of time. Physically, that equates to muscles with greater endurance.

    Fast-twitch fibers, or type 2 fibers, are not as efficient with how they use fuel, so they tend to fatigue more easily. However, they fire more rapidly and generally have more power than their slow-twitch counterparts. That makes them better suited to strength and explosiveness.

    While certain people may require one over the other—marathon runners, for instance, benefit more from slow-twitch fibers—most athletes could use a good balance of both. Some evidence suggests that muscles will switch between the two types based on training, though research still isn’t sure how this happens. However, working out with a muscle stimulator may engage both muscle fiber types, allowing for a more balanced workout.

    Cooling Down

    Similar to warming up before a workout, cool down once you have finished training. This can play an important role in your fitness and muscle recovery. Going from intense training straight to a resting phase can be jarring for your system. A cool-down period allows your breathing and heart rate to return to normal while preventing blood and toxins from pooling up in your muscles. It’s ultimately a more pleasant, comfortable way for your heart and muscles to ease out of a training session. Muscle stimulators offer a gentle cool-down that can keep your muscles from cramping or stiffening.

    Active Recovery

    Recovery is a necessary step in training. It allows your body to rebuild and repair any damage to muscles, ultimately contributing to their mass, density, and strength. While everyone can benefit from the occasional passive recovery, most athletes opt for active recovery, which simply involves low-intensity exercise.

    Active recovery encourages blood flow to the muscles and joints and can help to reduce the buildup of lactic acid, the compound responsible for causing muscle soreness and fatigue. Active recovery also keeps up your heart rate, ensuring that you don’t lag on your conditioning.

    Using a muscle stimulator during your active recovery period can speed up the process. Integrated with active recovery exercises, EMS can bring fresh oxygen and nutrients to your muscles while promoting the flush of toxins. 

    Some muscle stimulators also incorporate TENS systems. While it may seem similar to electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is designed to target sensory nerves and is more often associated with physical therapy and rehabilitation. EMS targets motor nerves, which activate muscle contraction. TENS targets sensory nerves, which determine how something physically feels. TENS programs can help provide pain relief by triggering the release of endorphins, your natural feel-good chemical.

    TENS programs may also dampen pain via the gate control theory. When you experience pain, a signal gets sent to your brain to denote the sensation. However, the electric pulses from a TENS program can actively interrupt these signals from ever reaching your brain, blocking that pain altogether.

    While dampening pain won’t make your muscles heal any faster, it can help during your recovery periods by allowing you to go through your day without focusing so much on muscle soreness and chronic pain.

    Electric muscle stimulators offer benefits for athletes and physical fitness enthusiasts of all skills, sports, and experience levels. While they can be intimidating to the uninitiated, learning how to use electronic muscle stimulator devices is actually easy and opens up a whole new world of efficient training sessions and improvements to physical performance. If you are curious and want to try a muscle stimulator for yourself, take a look through the Compex store for a wide range of devices perfectly suited for you.

    Sources:

  9. Muscle Pain After Workout: How to Reduce Pain

    Muscle Pain After Workout: How to Reduce Pain

    Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the medical term for when you feel sore following a tough workout. The soreness is part of the body’s healing response to micro muscle tears resulting from rigorous activity. Most active people have confronted DOMS and know firsthand that it can be as frustrating as it is uncomfortable. No doubt you will want to overcome the pain and get back at your full fitness level as quickly as possible. Find out how to relieve muscle pain after working out with these 10 tips below.

    1. Get Cold

    There has been some debate over the years as to when to use cold or hot therapy when your muscles are sore. The general consensus, based on recent studies1, is that cold therapy is generally better for acute healing periods, particularly the first 24 hours after an intense workout. The reason being that cold combats inflammation, the body’s protective response to injury. Cold therapy, known as cryotherapy, can make your muscles stiff, so be sure you are counterbalancing ice therapy by staying mobile while you recover. Icing with an ice pack is ideal for localized pain. If you need a full-body cooldown, consider taking a cold shower or bath at about 55 degrees. Cold therapy sessions should last about 15 minutes.

    2. Elevate

    Elevating sore muscles above the heart can help to prevent sore muscles by combating inflammation and associated discomfort. Prop up your legs while resting on the couch or in bed. If you have just finished a leg-heavy anaerobic workout, like sprints or other explosive leg movements, elevate your legs right after cool-down. This will help recirculate the blood quickly and flush out lactate released during anaerobic exercise. You can sit next to a wall and simply raise your legs up the wall so they are perpendicular to your body. You can also do a free-standing leg inversion. A good example is the classic yoga pose shoulder stand. Lay on your back and lift your legs and hips off the floor, while supporting your lower back with your hands. This is also a great way to stretch your upper back and neck when you’re feeling sore.

    3. Compression

    You likely have seen compression garments on professional athletes and runners jogging around your neighborhood. Compression garments have become popular in recent years for improving athletic performance and facilitating recovery. Wearing compression garments after a workout alleviates discomfort and expedites healing by way of accelerating blood flow. Specifically, compression garments improve blood flow in the veins. By constricting the surrounding tissues, venous blood moves faster back to the heart. Metabolic waste is then removed more quickly and oxygen is delivered to muscles faster,  both crucial components of muscle repair.

    4. Taping

    Taping has long been used in physical therapy to support injured muscles and soft tissues and prevent further injury. More recently, taping is used as part of recovery protocols to improve lymphatic circulation to sore muscles. A taping technique that lifts up the skin and decompresses the underlying fascia allows lymphatic fluids to better circulate through injured tissues for efficient metabolic waste removal. Kinesiology taping may also change the pain signals your nervous system sends to the brain, thereby reducing perceived pain associated with sore muscles. When an area of soreness is lifted and decompressed by the tape, a different signal is sent to the brain associated with a lifting of tension.

    5. Topical Treatments

    Unlike the other mentions on this list, topical treatments do not directly assist with muscle recovery; rather, these treatments minimize or mask muscle soreness. Your local drug store likely has an entire shelf devoted to topical muscle soothers, from balms and creams to sprays and patches. These treatments typically produce hot and/or cold sensations that instantly and temporarily alleviate discomfort by altering or blocking pain signals. Formulas vary, but most topical therapies rely on menthol or camphor. Alternatively, all-herbal formulas are available and CBD-based topical treatments are seeing a boom in popularity.

    6. Take a Magnesium Salt Bath

    While there is no conclusive data on how effective magnesium salt baths are at relieving muscle pain, the anecdotal data can’t be denied. Many an athlete swear by the rejuvenating effects of a good soak in a magnesium salt bath. Despite its popularity, many people do not realize that there are actually two types of magnesium soaking salts: Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride). Epson salts are the more popular and cost-effective of the two. However, magnesium flakes are thought to be more efficacious for topical absorption. Whichever soaking method you try, the warm water will help relax muscles, thereby reducing discomfort.

    7. Drink Cherry Juice

    Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice following a workout can reduce muscle soreness and damage2. The antioxidant anthocyanins, found in tart cherries, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces swelling and discomfort in over-worked muscles. You can simply add raw cherry juice to a smoothie, drink it straight, or take a tart cherry supplement. The idea is to get this naturally-occurring antioxidant in a concentrated form via juice or supplements, rather than trying to the equivalent in cherries. 

    8. Self-Massaging Tools

    Massage is a powerful modality to relieve sore muscles, besides of course to feeling amazing. Having a self-massaging tool for use at home, in the gym or wherever you are in need of a massage, is a must for athletes of all levels. Specifically, massage reduces painful muscle contractions, spasms, knots, and nerve compression. Manipulating muscles also increases blood and lymphatic circulation to reduce inflammation and pain and help your muscles heal. Getting into the habit of massaging yourself with a massaging tool at least a couple of times a week can be a game-changer in your recovery routine. 

    Self-care massage tools can be divided into two general categories: non-electric and electric. Non-electric includes massage balls, massage sticks, and foam rollers. These tools help loosen tight muscle tissues, but have the downside of requiring physical exertion to use them. You may need to lay against the object, as is the case with a foam roller, or press the object against you, as is usually the case with a massage stick. On the other hand, electric massagers don’t require as much effort on the user’s part. They are also more effective at normalizing and penetrating deeper into muscle tissue. 

    A percussive massage gun expedites and enhances muscle repair by providing bursts of concentrated pressure. Look for models with adjustable intensity levels to accommodate your massage and recovery needs. Our Compex massager, for example, has three levels:

    • Soft - good for small or over-worked muscles that can benefit from blood circulation and gentle manipulation.
    • Medium - ideal for medium-sized or tired muscles that need some release.
    • Firm - great for larger muscles or muscles that need deep tissue manipulation. 

    9. See a Massage Therapist

    Seeing a massage therapist carries all of the benefits of self-massage: enhanced blood and lymphatic circulation, pain reduction and improved healing times. Additionally, there is a critical relaxation component to receiving a massage. Studies show that massages elicit an involuntary parasympathetic nervous system response that allows you to de-stress, conserve energy and reduce your heart rate3. In other words, receiving a massage puts you in a relaxed state of mind that is necessary for healing. 

    Regularly seeing a massage therapist is a cornerstone to any athlete’s recovery routine. It is a key step to reduce inflammation and in helping to recover quicker after workouts. Professional massage sessions should be supplemented with at-home care, including regularly using massage tools. It’s not a matter of either/or when it comes to professional massage and self-massage; think of the two working together to keep your body and mind balanced.

    10. Keep Moving

    A common mistake people dealing with delayed-onset muscle soreness make is to become sedentary while their body heals. It may seem like your sore muscles need a time-out, but you actually want to do the opposite and keep moving around, albeit lightly. This approach to helping relieve sore muscles is called active recovery. Rather than curling up on the sofa for a day or two, which can cause your muscles to stiffen and become more tender, choose a light form of exercise. Engaging in physical activity will keep the muscles and joints loose, thereby reducing pain as you heal. Choose an activity that has little or no impact, like walking or swimming. Yoga, pilates, stretching, and light resistance training are also great forms of active recovery. Just be sure to keep it at a low intensity.

    How to Reduce Muscle Pain After Working Out

    With these ten tips on how to reduce muscle pain after working out, you’ll be back to full strength before you know it. Keep in mind that these treatments are best used in combination, not in isolation. Using two or more of these recovery methods creates a synergistic effect that will dissipate muscle soreness faster than relying on one therapy alone.

    Sources:

    1 Petrofsky, Jerrold S; Khowailed, Iman Akef; Lee, Haneul; Berk, Lee1; Bains, Gurinder S.; Akerkar, Siddhesh; Shah, Jinal; Al-Dabbak, Fuad; Laymon, Mike S. Cold Vs. Heat After Exercise—Is There a Clear Winner for Muscle Soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 11 - p 3245–3252. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2015/11000/Cold_Vs__Heat_After_Exercise_Is_There_a_Clear.33.aspx

    2 D.A.J. Connolly, M.P. McHugh, O.I. Padilla-Zakour. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. British Journal of Sports Medicine. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/40/8/679.short

    3 Diego M.A., Field T. Moderate pressure massage elicits a parasympathetic nervous system response. Int J Neurosci. 2009;119(5):630-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19283590

     

  10. How to Relieve Sore Muscles Fast

    How to Relieve Sore Muscles Fast

    Stepping up the rigor of your workout, or working your muscles in a different way, can cause muscle soreness. This condition is medically known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The longer your muscles are sore, the more likely you will be sidelined from physical activity as your body takes time to recover. When active people find themselves in this situation, the question at the fore of their mind is usually: how to relieve sore muscles fast? To get you back to form, below are eight tips on how to help sore muscles recover as quickly as possible.

    What Is DOMS?

    As the name suggests, delayed onset muscle soreness is a condition characterized by muscle soreness starting 24-48 hours after unfamiliarly difficult physical activity. Many an athlete has had this happen: they give themselves a well-earned pat on the back after a tough workout, initially thinking soreness is avoided, and are hit with discomfort and reduced mobility a day or two later. 

    While DOMS can be uncomfortable and prevent peak performance for a few days, it does have an upside: it’s a sign that your body is becoming stronger. When you push your body with a higher intensity workout than normal or move differently than usual, the exertion causes micro tears to your muscle fibers. Your body responds to the micro tears by sending lymphatic fluids and electrolytes to the area to heal the tissue. The tissue ultimately heals stronger than before the micro tears. Unfortunately, the cost of this healing process is inflammation and soreness. DOMS lasts about two to four days. Any soreness longer than five days may be a sign of muscle strain or another injury.

    How to Help Sore Muscles

    Keep in mind that any recovery modality comes with a big caveat: don’t do it if it feels uncomfortable. As your body heals during DOBS, the intensity and location of muscle soreness can alter. Be aware of these changes. You can injure your healing muscles, rather than support them, if you pursue a therapy that hurts. In other words, listen to your body.

    #1 Active Recovery

    Actively recovering from DOBS can include stretching, light resistance exercises or low-intensity, low-impact cardio like walking, jogging or swimming. The idea behind active recovery is increasing blood flow to the affected muscles. Delivering oxygen-rich blood to assist with repair and encouraging lymphatic removal of waste connected to muscle-building expedites the recovery process. Active recovery keeps the muscles and joints moving too, preventing them from getting stiff. Light cardio exercises will also help maintain endurance levels.

    #2 Eat Right

    A key element of any training program is nutrition. You probably already know that protein-rich foods like cottage cheese and fish provide muscles the fuel they need to repair. But you may not know that studies show a couple of cups of coffee can reduce muscle soreness by half. Recovering athletes may also want to reach for tart cherry juice, which reduces post-workout discomfort, expedites recovery time and minimizes muscle damage1. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, delivers similar benefits to cherry juice in improving muscle performance and decreasing muscular discomfort. Adding curcumin to your diet is easy, either by sprinkling turmeric on your food or taking a curcumin supplement.

    #3 Ice Therapy

    Icing sore muscles for 15-minute intervals sporadically during the days you are sore reduces inflammation and discomfort. Most at-home cryotherapy, or cold therapy, involves applying an ice pack to the affected area. If a head-to-toe ice-down is needed for full-body soreness, consider a cold bath or shower. No ice cubes are needed, as long as you can get the water temperature to the mid-50s.

    #4 Compression Garments

    Compression garments are tight-fitting clothing that, as the name suggests, compresses the underlying area of the body. By constricting the muscles and connective tissue, swelling is reduced and lymphatic and blood circulation is improved. There are different compression garments available for the lower and upper body, providing DOBS recovery support wherever you need it. 

    #5 Kinesiology Taping

    This type of tape is designed to lift the skin, allowing lymphatic fluids to better circulate through the area to remove waste byproducts from muscle repair. The tape is worn for about a day. Taping also has the advantage of supporting the adjacent muscles, which may be weaker than usual as they heal, thereby helping to avoid injury. 

    #6 Self-Massage Tools

    Massaging sore muscles is an effective post-workout recovery modality as any in terms of relieving discomfort and facilitating muscle recovery. Self-massaging tools come in all shapes and sizes. There are massage balls, massage sticks, and foam rollers on the non-electric side. On the electronic side, massagers may come in shiatsu, massage wand or massage gun styles.

    It probably goes without saying that an electric massager requires less effort to use than a non-electric massager; you simply hold the electric device to the area of discomfort and it does the work. Non-electric massage tools, on the other hand, require you to physically exert yourself in order to create tension against the massage device. Besides being more relaxing, electric massagers are faster and more effective in breaking up tight connective tissue and relieving soreness. The most effectual electric massager will have varying speeds and specialized movements, such as percussion.

    If you are considering an electric massager, and we recommend everyone have one from the not-so-active to the elite athlete, consider the following in the device you choose:

    1. Battery Operated - besides the convenience in not having to deal with cords while you use it, battery-operated massagers allow for go-anywhere portability. This is especially important for an active person wanting a handheld massager that can be brought to workouts or competitions. Be sure to review the battery life on the model. Some lower-end models have a short window of use before they need to be rebooted.
    2. Noise Factor - some massagers, especially massage guns, are excessively loud. A massager as loud as a blender isn’t going to provide a very enjoyable experience overall, even if it does massage you well. Consider a low-noise model for a more relaxing massage.
    3. Speed Variability - when your muscles are super sore, you’ll want a lighter touch massage than when your muscles are healthy. Your handheld massager should provide varying speed levels so you can get the exact massage you need when you need it.

    #7 Get a Professional Massage

    Spending time on the massage table is pretty much always a good idea. Having a professional massage therapist work out the knots, flush out toxins and improve the circulation in your muscles and soft tissues will go miles in hastening post-workout recovery, relieving soreness and loosening tight muscles. Keep in mind that if you are in the throes of DOBS, you should forgo a deep tissue massage. Too much pressure when you are still sore can end up hurting, rather than helping. A lighter massage will still confer the benefits of rejuvenation and improved circulation.

    Pro Tip: Professional massages shouldn’t be a stand-in for self-care massages at home. The smart athlete knows to get a professional massage regularly and maintain a self-massage routine for best outcomes.

    #8 Use an EMS/TENS Device

    Applying low-frequency electric impulses to overworked muscles via an electric muscle stimulator (EMS) unit increases blood circulation and relaxes muscles. EMS devices emit frequency through stick pads that are applied to the area of concern. Portable EMS units with multiple programming capabilities allow for muscle recovery, as well as training purposes. 

    Many EMS devices also feature transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) functionality. Rather than sending electrical impulses that target motor nerves, as in the case of EMS, TENS electric impulses block pain signals and stimulate endorphin production and release. Since an EMS/TENS machine can be used for muscle relaxation, repair, and pain management, it is a favorite recovery modality among athletes. Maybe you have used an EMS/TENS device as a patient during physical therapy and experienced its benefits firsthand. You may want to consider getting one of your own. Being able to use this highly effective treatment whenever you need it, rather than only when you see your physical therapist, is a worthwhile investment in your health.

    Combining Therapies for the Best Results

    If you find yourself torn about how to let your muscles recover faster after a workout, try combining at least two of the recovery therapies mentioned above to reduce inflammation and muscle pain. It’s best to combine modalities, creating a multi-pronged approach to improving blood flow and lymphatic circulation to weary muscles. By going for a synergistic recovery process, you will feel better sooner and be back on top of your game faster.

    Sources:

    1 D.A.J. Connolly, M.P. McHugh, O.I. Padilla-Zakour. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. British Journal of Sports Medicine. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/40/8/679.short

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