Your body is stiff, sore and aching after a grueling workout. Fatigue sets in as lactic acid accumulates in your blood and damaged muscle fibers induce painful inflammation. What now? You could wait it out. Or, take a flyer on any of these nine staff picks to replenish your energy stores and repair those damaged tissues ASAP.
It’s time to take your foam rolling to the next level. The Hyperice Vyper 2 features three speeds of high-intensity vibrations to support workout recovery (and aid in the warmup process, too). Localized foam rolling releases fascia to reduce soreness while research indicates vibration therapy can curtail the symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness. And unlike a standard foam roller, this one has smooth and textured surfaces for a wider range of recovery options. The Vyper 2 can go two hours between charges. $199.95
The foam roller is purpose-built to tackle the body’s major muscle groups; for everything else, there’s the Tiger Ball 1.7 Massager. Dig into those hard-to-reach knots by pressing the baseball-size massager against your body and leaning into a hard surface. You can adjust the ball’s position via a corded, 55-inch rope (if you’re rolling your back against a wall or your foot while sitting). Our best bets: Use the Tiger Tail USA ball as a foot massager after a grueling day in the backcountry or release the knots that accumulate as you continue to hit the climbing gym. $9.95
Speeding up muscle recovery is a tall order, but it’s made easier with Sockwell’s Circulator Compression Socks. Used to promote blood flow and reduce discomfort after exercise (or during long flights), these knee-high socks sport graduated compression from the Achilles to above the calf. Like your best hiking socks, the Circulator uses a blend of wool, nylon and elastane for wicking, durability and shape retention. Unlike your hiking socks, it also includes bamboo (for its antimicrobial properties). A seam-free toe closure and contoured heel reduce chafing and slippage. Provide your legs with the love they long for. $26.95; 2 sizes each, women’s and men’s
Applying consistent and optimal pressure to problem areas is key in the world of workout recovery. You can’t always do that with a standard foam roller, which invariably applies the most pressure to whatever muscle protrudes the most. Enter the STK Contour from Trigger Point Performance. Its foam wheels vary in size and spin individually, creating a contoured profile that more properly matches up against quads, calves and other rounded areas. (It also provides circulation benefits to boot.) Much like John Mellencamp’s hit single, this rolling stick may be painful to use, but it hurts so good. $29.95
I first fell in love with the massage gun after a trail relay series on the slopes of Washington’s Mount Rainier, and my body hasn’t looked back since. Used to decrease pain, soreness and stiffness, the BioZoom Massager from Addaday applies concentrated vibrations to promote myofascial release and blood circulation, all in cordless fashion. Toggle between five different frequencies and swap through five interchangeable heads to soothe most every muscle in the body. Though the BioZoom is built for the body, its included two-year warranty provides relief for the mind as well. $249.50
Those tired tootsies deserve some TLC, and the ORA slides from HOKA ONE ONE are here to provide just that. The soft footbed offers immediate step-in comfort, while Meta-Rockers redistribute plantar pressure and provide a smooth ride to give those barking dogs some much-needed relief. An open-toe design promotes airflow, and grooved soles ensure optimal traction underfoot with each step, no matter the terrain you hope to gingerly conquer. For those fighting post-run soreness, look no further to find blessed solace. $50; full sizes, men’s and women’s
To build muscle and facilitate recovery after an exhaustive workout, you need to down the right foods. Sporting the optimal 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, Recoverite Drink Mix from Hammer Nutrition replenishes mineral levels and rebuilds muscle tissue when your body needs it most. Simply mix the tasty strawberry- or chocolate-flavored powder with water and consume it immediately after your workout for best recovery. $3.50 for a single serving or $34.95 for a 16-serving tub
Hard-to-reach aches and pains have nowhere to hide when you’ve got the Trigger Point Performance AcuCurve Cane by your side. It’s made from durable ABS plastic and EVA foam; use the extra-firm drop tip to apply controlled pressure, working through those deep-tissue knots, or opt for the double massage ball design to release tight muscles surrounding the spine. No matter how you use it, options abound to combat workout wounds in the feet, calves, T-spine, traps and beyond. Stow the 16.5-inch-long AcuCurve Cane from in your commuter bag or carry-on for a massage on the go. $19.95
While resistance bands are often used for strength training and toning, they also facilitate mobility and flexibility during your workout recovery regimen. With three included bands that offer light, medium and heavy resistance, the Pro-Tec Athletics Resistance Bands aid in static and dynamic stretches, so you can stretch regularly like your high school track coach instructed you to. An included carrying bag makes for simplified transport (and prevents you from losing them), while premium latex material won’t snap under pressure. $14.95 for three
Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more Trail Mix collections here.