Athletes will try anything to get an edge on the competition.
And in a flash. Their interest in any recovery device can spark a trend for the masses. Because we all know that if we used the same recovery devices. Then we would all be superstars in our own minds. Luckily for us. These recovery devices get more and more accessible every day. Check out 5 of the more interesting options creeping up from behind the scenes.
1 - Cryotherapy or Cryogenic Chamber Therapy - Found at selected spas, gyms and health centers across the USA. Check your area for a trial session that typically costs between $50-100. Frigid air blast your whole body during treatment inside a liquid nitrogen gas chamber. Inside the chamber the air temperature plunges to between -180°F to -250°F. This results in a drop of a person's skin surface temperature to 30-50°F. Your treatment last for roughly 2-3 minutes. And this helps the body promote healing and release endorphins after exercise.
The Dallas Mavericks believed it gave them a key edge during their 2011 championship run. And many athletes swear that the endorphins it promotes after a tough workout help them bounce back the next day. If you got the time, money and a location near you. Then Google will provide you with some options.
2 - Sequential air compression devices - Both legs rest inside giant boots. Divided into multiple chambers from the foot to the upper thigh. A generator pump fills chambers with air applying intermittent pressure to different sections of the leg. With the goal of applying pressure to the foot area. And gradually moving pressure up the leg towards the heart to help cycle blood and promote recovery. You can get your fix with NormaTec Recovery Systems or Recovery Pump Boots for approximately $500.
Used by basketball athletes like: Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Allen, Blake Griffin and Steve Nash. And used by football athletes like: Larry Legend aka Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis.
Now available, a version for your arms, shoulders and chest. So if you weightlifters, pitchers or swimmers got $350 to spare. Then you got yourself a new recovery tool.
3 - Altitude chambers - Ideal for endurance athletes. And used to help increase your red blood cell count which boost your blood's oxygen carrying capacity. An altitude chamber replicates living in high altitude elevations. Higher elevations cause you to breathe less oxygen compared to sea level. And your body responds to the shortage of oxygen available in high altitude environments. By enhancing its ability to carry oxygen throughout your body. In the end, your body benefits with a slight endurance boost when you train at lower elevations.
Live high, train low. Hypoxico and AltiPower, two of the established brands for altitude chambers. Their units work by adding more nitrogen to the air. Which results in a lower percentage of oxygen consumed per breath. Their units get pricey to buy, but you can rent one for roughly $175 per week. Unfortunately, the rental comes with a four week minimum. And up to 8 payments can go towards the overall cost of purchase.
You want to use their units when you sleep, and also for any daily leisure activities. They also make a portable mask unit that you can use with stationary bikes, treadmills and other stationary activities.
If you plan on using an altitude training system. Then you may also want to purchase a pulse oximeter for safety reasons. This will allow you to monitor and measure your blood oxygen saturation percentage (SaO2%) and heart rate. If you purchase a pulse oximeter from Amazon Marketplace, make sure you get an adult sized one. Or it might not fit upon arrival.
And do beware of the elevation training masks available on Amazon Marketplace and other places. Armed with a misleading name. These mask only restrict the amount of air you inhale. So you breathe less air, but you still end up breathing in your normal amount of oxygen per breath. Therefore, they will not help increase your red blood cell count or lower your blood oxygen saturation percentage (SaO2%) when using them.
What do these elevation training masks do?
These elevation training mask help you to train and strengthen your diaphragm muscles. By forcing you to draw deeper breaths. When you constantly take in deeper breaths during your workouts. You train yourself on how to take in a larger volume of air with greater ease. You can get your own elevation training mask for roughly $80.
Filed in the I need one of those category. Tennis star, Novak Djokovic, uses a CVAC Pod. An egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressurized chamber. Djokovic goes on to state to The Wall Street Journal, "I think it really helps - not with muscle but more with recovery after an exhausting set." With the CVAC Pod, you can adjust the pressure, temperature and air density inside the pod. I guess it's safe to say that if we used one of these, then we would all be superstars.
4 - Electric muscle stimulators (EMS) - With the skepticism of those six pack ab belts still fresh in our minds. It's finally time to move on and stop associating those self proclaimed no exercise required ab belts with other EMS devices.
EMS devices can help you recover from your workouts or from injury. Luckily, active recovery from your workout only requires a low-voltage EMS device. You will find that using EMS in a pulsing mode for 10-20 minutes after your workout. Will stimulate circulation when used at a very low intensity. Thus cheaper devices meet the electric currency requirements of active recovery. And you can find lots of options that fall into the $90-$215 price range when searching for EMS or TENS devices on-line.
However, if you want a quality device that can do it all. You'll need an EMS device with enough juice to maximize fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment, increase muscle strength, increase muscle mass, aid recovery and prevent muscle atrophy. Then you will need to pony up the cash for a high grade EMS unit. Which will fall in the $500-$900 range. Compex and Globus, two of the top end brands in the EMS market.
If you plan to own a top end EMS device. Then you will want to work the EMS device into your routine after your workouts or on off days as a strength training supplement. Just make sure to crank the unit up to high voltage after your initial warm up to receive the full benefits of the EMS device.
5 - Compression garments - A bit of a cop out, but surprisingly scientifically sound for recovery. What started as Allen Iverson's shooting sleeve morphed into 1,195 product results on Amazon Marketplace. Typically worn during workouts because they feel good and after workouts to enhance recovery. If you want to wear them during your athletic activities, then look for a compression level between 15-20 mmHG.
Graduated compression garments provide maximum pressure at the wrist or ankle area. The pressure lessens as you move up the arm or leg. With the goal of pushing the blood furthest from the heart towards it. Wear your graduated and medical grade compression garments for 2-3 hours after your training session to help recover.
And this doesn't even cover other athletic recovery tools. Such as palm cooling devices to recover on your rest intervals, and allow for increased arm muscle activity and strength. Cooling vest to recover against the heat, and enhance your overall endurance in hot environments. Zero gravity treadmills to help with injury recovery; check Google for options in your area. And lastly, hyperoxic recovery during workouts, on rest intervals or post-workout via the use of an oxygen mask or oxygen cans to supply yourself with a dosage of pure oxygen.