Exercise has many benefits, but it also takes a toll on our body. This toll can be a motivating sign that we are getting stronger, but the soreness it leaves us with is often limiting and frustrating.
If we want to overcome this soreness, treatment is the key to protecting ourselves before, during and after workouts. It tells us which parts of our body need rest and recovery and which parts are ready to go. Most importantly, it soothes stubborn muscles, bringing us the pain relief we need.
Here at Drum, we want to help you learn to properly treat muscle soreness so that you can recover fast and be ready for your next workout. No expensive massage therapists or personal trainers required.
Say goodbye to sore muscles as we walk you through five of the most effective devices for muscle recovery:
Also known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling is a method of muscle therapy that uses pressure to locate and “roll” tender areas of muscle tissue. It is a technique that can be used both before and after exercise.
This treatment works by targeting fascia, the sheet of connective tissue that encases every nerve, muscle, organ and bone in our body. Fascia can be found both inside our muscles and around them, where it protects the muscle and prepares it for exercise.
The issue with fascia, however, is that its thick layers can also limit our mobility, making us feel sore. This happens when adhesions occur within the fascia, binding muscle tissue together and restricting flexibility. It is at this point when the foam roller comes to our rescue.
By using a foam roller to “roll” over tender areas (pressure points) of the muscle, we are able to warm up our muscles before workouts, increasing our range of motion and muscle endurance. Some studies also show that foam rolling can reduce fatigue if utilized as part of pre-workout stretches and warmups.
After workouts, foam rolling is even more effective. The treatment increases blood flow to the muscle, speeding up recovery, and is an excellent way to mitigate the symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Easy to transport and use, resistance bands are popular in home gyms the world over, but did you also know that they are excellent for prevention and recovery from muscle soreness?
As the name suggests, the bands work through resistance, which allows you to build muscle and get stronger without risking any of the major injuries associated with weight training. In comparison to weight training, which puts intense strain on muscles, resistance band training is far gentler on the body without sacrificing any benefits.
When working out with weights, the tension inflicted upon the body can be substantial. It is this tension that makes you more likely to experience muscle trauma or soreness. With a resistance band workout, this tension is reduced greatly, allowing you to work longer and harder without the fear of a major injury. The bands also inflict less pressure on the spine and joints, further preventing injuries.
The bands simply work by pulling on them, and they can be used to stretch or strengthen many parts of the body. When strengthening areas like the legs or glutes, it is best to stick to heavier bands. When focusing on areas that need less resistance to strengthen, like your shoulders, it is best to use lighter bands.
For muscle recovery, you should match the area of your body experiencing soreness with the corresponding band strength. After you find the correct band for you, use it to slowly stretch out the affected area. Studies show that consistent stretching with resistance bands has positive effects on the strengthening and recovery of damaged muscles.
Compression clothing comes in a wide variety of options, with the most popular being shirts, sleeves and socks. Very popular with professional athletes and athletic trainers alike, compression technology is effective at reducing muscle soreness in a targeted area.
Designed for modern exercise, compression technology reduces lactic acid, minimizes the impact of vibration and regulates temperature to protect damaged muscle tissue and prevent further strain.
Lactic acid often builds up during exercise because our blood becomes depleted of essential oxygen and nutrients. While an important function, this dispersion of lactic acid can cause muscle soreness. Compression technology mitigates this buildup by preventing it in the first place, helping blood move more quickly through the body.
A well known benefit of compression technology, specifically for runners, is the ability of compression clothing to dampen vibration. When you exercise, small vibrations are sent throughout your muscles, serving as a sort of microtrauma.
While you may not feel it in the moment, these vibrations can leave you feeling stiff and sore after your workout. By wrapping tightly around the body, compression clothing reduces these vibrations for the duration of your workout.
Temperature changes during a workout can also cause soreness or pain. Exercise in very hot weather can lead to serious cramps, while cold weather can lead to muscle contraction and stiffness. Compression technology fights this by regulating the temperature of the muscles that are being “compressed” by the clothing, leading to stable temperature for the entirety of the workout.
Effective at targeting specific sore spots in the muscle, massage balls are a fun and easy way to help sore muscles recover after a strenuous workout.
Whether you use a simple tennis or lacrosse ball or you spring for a more expensive option, all massage balls work on the same principle as foam rollers: myofascial release. Allowing you to reach difficult spots of your body usually reserved for a masseuse or physical trainer, massage balls isolate the strained muscle with pressure directly equal to the amount of force you use.
This allows you to use anything from a gentle to deep tissue massage to work out muscle knots, increase flexibility, and eliminate pain. The ease of use and affordability of massage balls have made them extremely popular, even among novice athletes.
When it comes to choosing a massage ball, there are many options at your disposal. For small to medium sized muscle groups, like the calves, you should look for a ball that is near in size to a tennis or lacrosse ball. For big muscle groups, like the chest or shoulder, you will need to find a massage ball that is close in size to a softball.
Percussive Massage Therapy
Percussive Therapy is the culmination of years of research, development and treatment. It represents the cutting edge in muscle recovery and has recently become widely available for public use and benefit. Shown to be up to 30% more effective than a normal massage, percussive treatment is a proven muscle stimulator designed to prevent injury and treat pain.
Percussive treatment/massage is primarily used to treat Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a primary cause of discomfort and injury during and after exercise.
The treatment typically involves a percussion massage “gun,” such as the Drumgun, which is a highly adjustable power massager that is applied directly to the muscle group to bring deep, long lasting relief. The massage head brings direct relief in multiple ways, including: improved circulation, increased range of motion, relief of sore muscles and lactic acid release.
As mentioned in the previous treatment options, these conditions are the primary cause of sore muscles that inhibit our workouts and lives. If left untreated, they can cause dramatic injury and greatly increase recovery time.
In addition to these great benefits, handheld massagers like the Drum’s give the user the gift of customization. The Drumgun comes with six interchangeable head attachments, each equipped to move at four different speeds. Each head attachment and speed is designed to target different target areas within specific muscle groups. This allows the user to adjust the intensity of their experience to a level that is both comfortable and beneficial to them.
For the modern athlete looking for consistent prevention and recovery, it is impossible to beat the reliability, effectiveness and customization that Percussive Massage Therapy provides.