by Marie-Soleil Blais
Recovery takes a big part in an athlete’s training plan. Gadgets and tools have multiplied to make the task easier and accelerate recovery. Here are some of the most popular recovery techniques used among proffesional cyclists.
Maybe you’ve seen pictures of cyclists with their legs in two big inflated tubes and wondered what is this technology. Compression boots are like a pair of inflatable pants that you put on. Attached to it is a little machine that controls the pressure, or compression of the legs by inflating and deflating each of the four sections -from the calves to the upper legs–in a specific pattern to help the blood flow and therefore help to regenerate the muscles cells quicker. The downside is that they are not cheap and can take up a lot of space when travelling. But it’s a great tool to have at home for the elite athlete.
I’m seeing this technique more and more and I’ve become a huge fan of cupping myself. The technique of cupping involves using a cup to create suction to pull the fascia–the envelope around the muscle–to release adhesions to the fascias and create a rush of new blood into a specific area. Instead of pushing into the muscle and risking causing more damage, you’re pulling the fascia, creating space and an instant feel of release.
There are a few versions on the market that work a bit differently but I really like the silicone ones that you can slide around. Plus, they are very cheap and super easy to travel with. You can find a starter kit on Amazon for a few bucks. It’s better to use it with oil, but any massage oil will do.
The muscle scrapers do what their names describe, they scrape the muscles. Similarly to the cups, the muscle scrapers are designed to release the fascias without pushing into the muscles. They are also somewhat inexpensive and super easy to travel with. You will need to use it with oil as well.
This is fairly new technique and I haven’t had the chance to try it myself but I have a feeling it will quickly gain the attention of cyclists because it’s was invented and launched by Phil Gaimon, the former professional cyclist turned Youtuber. He basically designed the best way to give your legs an iced bath, without a bath or ice. You put them in the freezer and you put them on after your ride to reduce inflamation. This is especially handy for injuries when you can’t figure out a way to keep the ice bag in place with your hands free!
These are all fancy recovery tools, but there are other ways to improve your recovery without any investment. Check out the Four recovery techniques pros swear by and you should be practicing.