Health & Wellness Blog

    

5 Must-Have Self Massage Tools for Athletes

Not all of us athletes can afford a professional massage treatment 2-3 days of the week. Heck, even just one massage per week would break the bank for many athletes.

Fortunately, there are a number of different self massage tools available that can help you get the same professional massage therapy you could get from a professional. These massage tools offer different purposes for various massage techniques. And when used in conjunction to relieve tight muscles, these tools can provide the ultimate massage experience.

1. Trigger Point's GRID foam roller massage tool foam roller

The Grid foam roller by Trigger Point is a hot favorite among athletes when it comes to massaging. This foam roller makes use of EVA foam over a hollow core and thus prevents breakdown with time. The varied foam densities, widths and patterns give a more targeted feel.

Trigger Point's GRID roller works by applying pressure to myofascial connective tissue to

restore motion and eliminate pain. Measuring 13” X 5”, the GRID roller is much more portable than conventional foam rollers. The one year warranty from the house of Trigger Point adds to the incentives of making it yours.

2. MobilityWOD Super Nova

The sphere shaped Super Nova has been redesigned and re-released in 2013. It works well by reaching more muscle groups due to its grooved flat surfaces. It is gentler than several other advanced mobility tools. The Super Nova stays where you want it to due to its grooved channels and fingers.

The portable size of MobilityWOD's Super Nova is one of the features which give it an edge above foam rollers. It can fit easily in a travel bag to cater for all your on-the-go mobility requirements. The spherical shape allows it to reach difficult-to-reach-areas also effectively.

3. The basic lacrosse ball massage tool

A portable massage tool that is as effective as any other fancy massage tool is a lacrosse ball. It is an excellent massage tool to activate trigger points in muscles and relax stressed areas by working deep into adhesion and muscle tightness.

A lacrosse ball can be used in the following ways for a myofascial release:

  • Roll over the ball with your feet over it to get instant relief from tight arches.
  • Rest the ball between glute and wall with the ball over the sore area. Press the glute into the wall and perform circular motion around the area. As the pain subsides, press the ball over the area against the wall and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Lie down on the stressed side with knees bent and hands resting on the floor in the front. Place the ball directly under the aching area and begin rolling the hips to ease the tension.

4. Knobble® II

Shaped like a round mushroom, the Knobble is a polymer massage tool that fits comfortably in the palm. Its ergonomic design makes it work like an extension of the hand itself. It weighs only 2 ounces and is about 2 ¼ inches long. All you need to alleviate pain and soreness is place the wide end of the Knobble II on the palm and the narrow end on the area of the body you want to massage. The tool comes with an instruction manual to guide you through the massage process.

The purpose of the Knobble II tool is to allow you to focus on the areas of the body where you need compression. It targets trigger points and acupoints and enables you to get intense massage with little effort. It magnifies the power of massage to give deep and effective strokes.

5. Thera Cane® massage tool cane

This is a general purpose massage tool which supplements your hands in carrying out a massage. It is primarily used for giving an effective and deep back massage by stimulating trigger points and acupoints. You can reach back, feet and front with this tool and massage effectively. Made of fiberglass and shaped like a cane, the Thera Cane has six knobs. The device is nearly 15 inches in width and 2 feet in length.

Life as an athlete would have been wonderful if you had a personal massage therapist at your disposal to help you ease out the stress, soreness and tension that you experience while performing your daily athletic activities. However, this is not possible for most of the athletes and it therefore becomes necessary that you have certain tools in your arsenal that can defeat pain and stress.

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5 Effective Recovery Tips to Become a Better Triathlete

When it comes to becoming a better triathlete, it's often the things that we do outside of training that can have a significant impact. Recovery, rest, and rehabilitation should be at the core of any athlete's training regime.

Better Triathlete Recovery

Beyond just stretching and eating right, below we share five highly-effective recovery tips to help you become a better triathlete.

1. Practice self myofascial release

In order to understand what self-myofascial release (or "SMR")is all about, it is paramount that we understand two aspects that are integral to SMR effectiveness. The first term is fascia; which is a specialized connective tissue that surrounds the whole body, that is, the bones, joints and muscles, as well as providing protection and support.

When there is damage to the fascia, this gives rise to trigger points. Trigger points are the second aspect to consider and are defined as areas of muscle that are susceptible to pain when undergoing palpation, they also exhibit tout bands around these areas.

Self myofascial release is a very simple technique that athletes employ in order to alleviate these trigger points. The exercise involves a foam roll, on which the athletes roll parts of their body until they reach the trigger point. The athletes then hold this position until the pain subsides.

2. Hydrate and replenish mindfully

It is common knowledge in the athletic world, that what you consume after a work out or race greatly determines how your body is going to react in the subsequent day or days. It is therefore imperative that we carefully consider what we drink or eat after such tiresome sessions.

Triathletes should know when to drink water and when to drink electrolyte rich energy drinks. These decisions are predominantly determined, by the rate of absorption of these fluids by the body. In order to make the right decision, one should consult a nutrition expert before consuming anything.

3. Experiment with different types of stretching

Stretching is a very integral part in the training regimen of any professional triathlete. Triathletes who have more elasticity and flexibility in their muscles perform better. There are two types of stretching recommended by the professionals.

The first one is, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) which is a set of stretching techniques which are used to improve both the passive and active range of motions in our bodies. This done to ensure that that our body produces optimum performance as well as rehabilitate the body when injured. The second technique is of static stretching which generally means stretching while the body is in a stationery position.

4. Embrace cold exposure

After that vigorous work out, a lot of triathletes prefer to immerse themselves in an ice water bath. This ice water bath has temperatures between twelve to fifteen degrees Celsius. This plunge into the ice bath is believed to have a therapeutic effect on the muscles as it reduces the soreness and pain in the muscles.

Doing this after training can help the muscles recover quickly from the strains of the exercises and as such are quickly ready for the next session. This cold exposure also provides a resurgence of energy.

5. Practice meditation and mindfulness

Meditation can be a very useful tool for an athlete who is training for a tournament or who is recovering from an injury or strenuous exercises. Meditation causes the body to relax and such reduce the release of the hormone cortisol, which is a very bad hormone for and budding athlete. Athletes who meditate have been known to perform better, as they generally have all their faculties in control.

Last word on becoming a better triathlete

Lastly, spend some time working on your form and biomechanics in all three disciplines of triathlon. There are many sports scientists out and triathlon coaches out there who can help you refine your form and help you become more efficient and injury free.

Explore the idea of investing in quality triahlon coaching so you can become better organized with your training, and your self as a whole through the sport.

 
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