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.
The preset Resistance program is the most “bang for your buck” among the training programs. By activating both Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fiber types, you can help to maximize the muscle contraction and get the greatest strength gains. Although this program can be used as a stand-alone routine (yes, even while you sit on the couch!) it may be best utilized in conjunction with some body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, or calf raises depending on what you want to train. By taking your body through range of motion during each contraction, you’ll get even more benefit of the program to help increase your squat, vertical jump, and increase muscle mass!
Active Recovery Program
The moments immediately following a tough workout can be some of the most critical for recovery in a number of ways. Using the Active Recovery program within thirty minutes of your workout can help reduce lactic buildup, muscle soreness and fatigue so that you’re better prepared for the next session. By starting at a higher frequency and gradually tapering down, this program can be used as an effective cool down method.
Recovery Plus Program
In the hours and days following a workout, using the Recovery Plus program will have the most benefit to ensuring your preparedness for the next session. Using a low frequency pulse, this program helps to increase local blood flow back to the muscle tissue to help keep it mobile and fight muscle soreness. A perfect rest day choice, stick on your electrodes for a relaxing weekend as you plan out your next week in how to continue towards your goals.
We know you’re ready to put in work this New Year and Compex is here to help meet your fitness goals. Train, recover and PR with Compex into 2018!
The greater the stress a training program produces, the greater the necessity for deliberate actions taken to maximize the body’s repair. Elite level athletes understand the value of rest and recovery methods and among them, the demands for recovery at the top tier become a full time career of practicing their craft. The human body is capable of incredible and seemingly impossible feats when properly nurtured and adapted to the right conditions.
Methods of recovery may include practices targeted at hormonal, neurological or structural stressors and the effectiveness of certain techniques may vary between athletes. The intention to each practice, however, is to maximize the performance potential of an individual. Here are some of the key elements and insights to elite level rest and recovery:
As simple as it seems, most people don’t get this one right. Our culture promotes a strong value to “overdoing it” and a full night of rest is a rare indulgence for most go-getter types. Sleep is invaluable to recovery in terms of mental health, hormonal balance and muscle recovery and there are incredibly anabolic (muscle growth and protein synthesis) processes that happen in the body during solid states of sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can significantly delay signals of the brain. Proper duration of sleep will vary per athlete and training methods, however, 7-10 hours is the norm. Try to sleep in an environment with as little light as possible and cooler temperatures are best as well.
The foods that enter your body are literally what fuel the functions of your body and can either harm you or help you. Alcohol, sugar and processed foods are toxins to the body that can cause inflammation and do catabolic damage to the cells. Because some people may be more resistant or tolerant to certain food types, it is important for each individual to determine the best dietary recommendations to follow that provide the right levels and qualities of macro and micro nutrients to the body. Athletes are often especially deficient in magnesium and may also benefit from supplementation with fish oil, B12 and CoQ10. Women tend to be more deficient than men in calcium and iron and may need to take extra measures to ensure proper supplementation.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical to living healthy, maintaining energy levels and high rates of recovery and performance. Although your sports drinks may contain water, they are not adequate sources of hydration and should not replace water itself. Even adding flavorings can make it harder for your body to process. Studies show that by the time you already feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated by 1-2%. Although this may seem insignificant, even the slightest levels of dehydration can cause irritability, poor memory, fatigue and reduced metabolism.
Mindfulness Practice / Breathing
Meditation practices are lesser studied in Western culture, however, studies have shown that practices in mindfulness and breathing techniques are beneficial to psychological and physiological wellbeing. In the performance athlete, the ability to control thoughts of pain or emotion can provide a competitive edge. Meditation does not have to be inherently spiritual or religious, but can bring clarity, reduce levels of stress and anxiety, and relieve tension. Athletics can tend to draw a certain personality type that are high-strung and judgmental to self, but elite athletes often share a common practice in “letting go.”
Body work covers a broad range of practices but may include active or passive stretching, foam rolling, massage, Graston technique, or cupping. Individual athletes may respond differently to varying techniques and should find what works best to suit their needs. Although body care specialists are important to seek out and learn from, self care will be a necessity to keep up with a demanding training regimen. One massage appointment per month will not be enough!
Hot and Cold Therapy
Although there is a lot of controversy on which methods of temperature therapy are best, many athletes utilize and find benefit in ice, heat, or contrast therapy for reduction of joint or muscle swelling or soreness and increased recovery time. Practices in heat therapy may be dependent on the nature of trauma or stress that an individual athlete has experienced and may differ when addressing stressors of the joints or muscle. Athletes should look to expert recommendations and even their own experience when using hot or cold therapy.
Electric stimulation devices such as Compex have been shown to increase recovery time in athletes and are medical-grade devices designed to contract the muscles in different ways that may promote blood flow, increase the muscle, and/or flush out lactic buildup. In more extreme cases even, an NMES device can be used to alleviate muscular spasms and cramps.
Whether your goals are to be an elite athlete or just beat your own markers of fitness to get back in shape, recovery methods are vital to optimizing your human performance and potential. Although these techniques have been suggested as recovery methods from athletic practices, recovery is important for any person that encounters physical, emotional, or mental stressors in everyday life. In order to put your best self forward, you have to take care of yourself in mind and body.
Virtually every human being has experienced the bodily responses associated with strenuous activity or physical exertion. Heavy breathing and muscle fatigue are not unique to athletes alone, although high-performance individuals certainly experience strain to an exceptionally higher degree. Regardless of intensity, however, the science is the same and a basic biological understanding of how our human bodies respond to physical stress is important to understand how to best recover.
When we perform a physically strenuous activity, our lungs will demand to breathe more rapidly as the body fights to supply the working muscles with oxygen as fuel. The body prefers to generate energy aerobically, or through this exchange of oxygen from our environment into our muscles, but activities of higher intensity will require energy production at a higher rate than what we can deliver through oxygen intake alone. When the body cannot deliver energy through oxygen alone, the body will use what is called pyruvate, a breakdown substance of glucose (blood sugar), and convert it to lactate to be used by the body which in turn is converted back to glucose again. This is called the anaerobic process, or the Cori cycle. This type of activity is limited, however, and this type of energy production can generally only last for seconds to a few minutes, during which time lactate will accumulate to high levels. But what does that matter?
High levels of lactate in the body will increase the acidity of muscle cells and create an environment that inhibits the breakdown of glucose, the very activity that lactase itself makes possible. Although this may seem counterintuitive, it is a defense mechanism of the body to prevent extreme damage through high levels of intensity in physical activity.
This build up of lactic acidity is commonly referred to as a muscle “pump” and is the burning sensation associated with high repetition or high intensity activity. When the pain or discomfort of this physical response finally causes us to stop, the body will enter a state of recovery in which it will clear the lactate build up and restore the body to a physical state ready for another anaerobic bout.
So how can this knowledge positively impact our training? On one hand, increasing our aerobic conditioning will improve athletic performance by extending our bodies capabilities of using oxygen - an easier, more available and more enduring source for energy production. Training mentality is also important in not always shying away from the “pump” and enduring intense discomfort for longer periods of time. Finally, however, intentional practices of physical recovery to flush out lactate buildup as quickly as possible are incredibly beneficial to a performing athlete in a high-intensity sport, especially if an athlete has consecutive events or training sessions and must recover as quickly as possible.
The Active Recovery program of Compex is designed for exactly the purposes of immediate recovery from these type of physical events. Although the full duration of the program is 24 minutes with electric frequencies that start from high to low, it will effectively flush out lactic buildup in just 6 minutes. Not only does this program clear out lactate, but promotes fresh blood flow to the area to bring in vital nutrients and even oxygen back to the area. For these reasons, this program is best used and most effective immediately post workout or event to maximize recovery in the most minimal amount of time. In competition, this can be a tremendous advantage to the athlete performing back-to-back events so that they are biologically as fresh as possible for the next event.
When it comes to performance, the greatest athletes recognize the vital necessity and incredible benefits of intentional recovery methods. Alongside proper efforts in nutrient timing, hydration and mobility, using electric stimulation with a Compex device provides an edge from off of the competition floor and will help you perform to your greatest physical abilities you may have yet to imagine.
Whether you’re a die-hard or more of an enthusiast, CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. Intensity is the name of the game and the goal is to push your body as far as it can go; you’d be surprised at what you’re capable of!
With any intense workout program, proper form, training and conditioning is crucial to achieving results and preventing injury. First and foremost, make sure your CrossFit program, gym, and coach are the right fit for you.
Once you’ve solidified a good workout / rest routine and dialed in your diet it might be time to consider taking your training to the next level with Compex electric muscle stimulator. Compex is not only designed to help you recover, but also to build strength; strength you can use to lift more, to jump higher and to exceed your fitness goals.
If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. Here is how Compex can help you with CrossFit.
Recruiting More Muscle
Compex can help you to build strength by recruiting more muscle but how? What does that mean exactly?
Say you are looking to increase the amount of weight you can lift. To be able to lift more weight, you need to train your body to recruit more muscle to the task. By lifting progressively more weight in the same motion, you more develop pathways from your brain to recruit more muscle, which is essentially what building strength is. This takes time and even at your fittest, you’re probably only recruiting around 30% of the muscle.
With Compex, you can recruit more muscle because the stimulation is direct and does not involve weight increases. The device works as the signals telling your muscles to fire instead of your brain. Targeting of these muscles is also easier because you are placing the pads over the muscles you want to contract. This is also helpful for underutilized muscle groups like gluteals that are important for strength but not as easy to build.
You can either use Compex to build strength instead of weight training, in addition to your weight training program or while you lift.
Lifting with Compex muscle stim can help you build more strength by firing more muscle while you’re lifting, thus allowing you to lift more weight. If you’re working on your deadlifts or clean and jerks, this can help you reach new weight goals.
Typically, in order to build strength, you need to lift more weight. However, this can lead to soreness and recovery time, pressure on joints and connective tissue, and possible injury. Compex muscle stim can help you work passed some of those hang ups and still increase your strength.
Using Compex muscle stim while you are training helps you have more muscle contraction without adding more weight. This reduces the impact on joints without sacrificing performance. Because of the impact reduction, this can also lead to a shorter recovery time. Get the most from simple bodyweight exercises or make your lifting sessions count more.
We all have a stronger side. When you are doing CrossFit, even if you are aware of which side is weaker, you body will still automatically compensate as soon as you lift, land or run. If you’re not balanced, there is risk of injury. If you have a weaker side, you’re not truly maximizing your strength.
Compex muscle stim has 4 different channels; that means you can hook the device up to both sides of the body at the same time. Use Compex to either strengthen a weaker side or to keep both sides of the body balanced while building strength.
Speed of Contraction
How fast your muscles contract is not crucial, but it is important for quick movements like clean pulls or jumping. Training your muscle to fire a certain way every time is the best way to increase the speed of contraction. Practice makes perfect and the same is true for your muscles; the more times they fire a certain way, the faster they’ll do it.
For example, when you jump, your leg muscles need to fire right away in order to send your body upwards. Jumping repeatedly to increase your jump or using weights can have a negative impact on your knees, feet or ankles before you reach your goals. However, training with Compex muscle stim allows you to train those muscles to fire how you want and as fast as you want.
Early this year, we told you about how volleyball player Brandon Talbot used Compex to increase his vertical leap and potentially break three world records. Talbot didn’t want to use weights so he chose electric muscle stimulation to increase his explosive strength. By doing so, he increased his jump using just Compex and ultimately was able to leap onto a 61’’ platform from the ground.
As important as training is to reaching your fitness goals, so is giving your body time to recover. When you’re in the zone, it might be hard to a take a day or two off to rest your muscles but Compex can aid in recovery and help you get back on the floor faster.
Using an electric muscle stimulator like Compex helps increase blood flow up to 600%. This means you’re moving out waste products that build up from intense physical activity like lactic acid or debris from muscle fibers. This leaves more room for fresh blood to help your muscles heal.
Foam rolling is a great way to break up adhesions that can cause muscle pain and soreness. However, foam rolling is a very mechanical process where you physically roll out your muscles like you would with a rolling pin and dough. While this is very effective, it can be painful. Using the Active Recovery program helps break up some of the adhesions, but it only targets the muscle, not any connective tissue, making it less painful. At the same time, it helps to release endorphins, making you feel better and want to get back out there.
Got questions or want to tell us about how Compex has upped your CrossFit game? Talk to us on @CompexCoach on Twitter.