After years of promising to work out consistently, you finally got into a groove this summer. You were jogging 30 minutes a day, six days a week, lifting three times a week and had your eye on a Tough Mudder. Then, shin splints and a pulled hamstring swooped in and knocked you off your game. Stop sulking, green with envy, as you watch athletes live out their Olympic dreams (or at least elevate your legs while you’re doing it). Live, learn and stock up on five products that prevent injury.
Massage Bar (aka the Big Stick)
Ultimate Performance + Fitness president Anthony Giallanzo, who travels around the Island to work out with clients, suggests using a massage bar before and after working out. “It gets deeper into muscle tissue and speeds recovery,” he said. The rolling stick uses trigger-point therapy to wake up sore muscles, helping to combat nagging injuries like shin splints, back paints, plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.
This portable tool travels well—jet-setters can easily transport it from home to hotel gym. The Massage Peanut’s rolling, kneading motion releases myofascial pain, which is pain and inflammation in the body’s tissue or muscles that sometimes causes discomfort in unrelated areas. It adjusts to the shape of the body and boasts firm points that wake up sensory receptors. “This not only increases blood flow to local areas but makes you more aware of your body and how it moves. When you are more aware of how your body moves, you reduce your risk of injury because you know the correct way to engage the specific muscles you are focusing on.” Welcome back, natural movement.
Grid Foam Roller
Giallanzo suggests using the grid foam roller after a hard workout. “It helps my muscles recover from whatever strenuous exercises I did that day.” Hand-wrapped in EVA foam, the Grid Foam Roller is firmer than run-of-the-mill foam rollers, which allows it to maintain its shape and give users a deeper release of the fascia. The three-dimensional surface promotes the flow of blood and oxygen, two vital nutrients for muscle repair.
When the massage therapist is on vacation, a session with TheraCane should more than suffice. The self-massage device has two strategically placed projections at either end to allow for proper leverage and reduced hand and arm movement. Six treatment balls apply a deep-pressure massage that relieves muscle dysfunction.
Personal trainers and physical therapists often help clients perform proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretches, such as lying hamstring stretches, to improve range of motion and aid recovery. When there’s no trainer in sight, grab a stretch strap. “It delivers the benefits of PNF stretching without a partner and makes it easier to grasp onto all limbs while sinking deeper into stretches.” Your calves, quads and hammies will thank you later.