The Best Workout Recovery Tools for Pain-Free Fitness All-Year Round

Whether you lift weights, run on treadmills, or do home workouts in front of a smart mirror, chances are, you’re dealing with plenty of aches and pains along the way. Sure, you can power through most soreness and tightness, relying solely on rest to get you through to the other side. However, letting those aches and pains fester can absolutely lead to worse injuries over time, not to mention, they’re likely to hamper your performance every time you’re back in the gym.

Workout recovery is one of the most important things anyone who trains can incorporate into their routine.  Using it allows your muscles to repair and rebuild faster, cutting down the amount of rest you’ll require to restore your body to peak condition. It’s also one of the best things you can do for injury prevention, since it gives you greater control over your body, especially after a tiring, draining workout session.

Workout recovery can take many forms. Some people prefer active recovery activities like stretching, yoga, or other non-strenuous aerobic exercise. Others use soft tissue therapy tools like foam rollers and massage guns to break up adhesions in the muscles and loosen up spots of tense tissue. There’s also compression therapy, hot/cold compression, electrical muscle stimulation, and more.

Nowadays, there’s a wide selection of tools that will let you perform those therapies even on your own. This allows you to your workout recovery wherever it’s most convenient, whether that be at the gym right after training, at home where you can rest for longer, or anywhere else in between. These are our favorites.

TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller

Sometimes, you just want to keep things simple and it doesn’t get simpler than the classic foam roller. This affordable workout recovery tool from TriggerPoint is sizeable enough to target your larger muscles, while being durable enough to withstands weights up to 500 pounds, so this thin will hold up to regular post-workout use. Featuring a firm 3D surface with multi-density grids, it’s designed to replicate the feeling of a massage therapist’s hands, allowing you to really dig into both tight, sore muscles and soft tissue alike. Granted, it’s a little painful as all firm foam rollers tend to be (you can ease off on the pressure if you can’t handle the pain), but they’re definitely well worth the effort once you feel the comfort in your muscles the very next day. We’re also very fond of TriggerPoint’s rollers, in particular, because their foams tend to hold up for much longer, compared to other rollers that tend to compress noticeably after the first year.

TriggerPoint 13" Multi-Density Foam Roller -...
  • IMPROVE MUSCLE RECOVERY – Multi-density GRID features a three-dimensional surface that provides...

TriggerPoint Grid STK Handheld Massage Stick

Traditional foam rollers go under the body part you’re looking to provide release, which works well, but doesn’t give you a lot of control when it comes to the amount of pressure you put into it. That’s why some folks prefer this handheld version, which allows you to more easily put in less or more force, depending on what the particular muscle needs. We also like the 3D surface grids in this one, which allows you to really dig into tight muscles without being excessively painful like the knobby bumps we’ve seen on some handheld rollers. The 13-inch length gives it plenty of surface area to handle even large body parts like the back, although we did find it a tad too big to roll on the arches of the feet.

Sale
TriggerPoint Performance GRID STK Handheld Foam...
  • Portable, handheld massage roller incorporating the variable surface design of the revolutionary...

Pso-Rite Psoas Massager

While it’s not the most versatile muscle release tool, we always keep one of these in our stash because of its unique function, which is, basically, to release the psoas muscle, which is attached to the lower region of the lumbar spine and works its way across the femur and pelvis. Why is this important? Well, the psoas complex actually connects the lower body to the midsection and the upper body, making it an integral element to make sure those connections work properly. Lying down with your hips directly on the tips of Pso-Rite will relive tension in that area (it mimics the hands of a massage therapist), which can be crucial to ensuring you’re able to move properly and avoid injury during training. Aside from the psoas, the tool can also be used to release back pain (just lie on it with the aching section) and neck pain, but its unique function targeting that all-important connecting muscle is really what makes this massage tool stand out.

Sale
PSO-RITE Psoas Muscle Release & Deep Tissue...
  • SIMPLE, AGGRESSIVE, UNMATCHED: The PSO-Rite is the most revolutionary self-care mobility massage and...

Clim8 Ice Bath Tub XL

We love those $1,000 ice tubs, but you don’t really need to fork out that much if you just want a container that can fit you while it’s filled up with ice water. A collapsible tub like this one is capable enough for cold water therapy, all with the added convenience of packing away when not in use. Once assembled, the main container can fit 116 gallons of water and is large enough to accommodate individuals up to 6’7”, although you will need to sit cross-legged, since it’s only 2.5 feet tall. A faucet on the side allows you to easily drain it once you’re done, too, while an included cover lets you leave it in the backyard without dirt and debris collecting inside.

Sale
Clim8 Ice Bath Tub for Athletes: 116 Gallons Cold...
  • Multiple Layered Ice Tub,Clim8 cold water therapy tub is designed to maintain the water...

Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube

Want to do hot/cold compression therapy, but don’t want to mess with all the work (and mess) ice packs and gels require? Not a problem with this battery-powered cryothermal tool, which provides instant heat up to 109 degrees Fahrenheit or instant cold up to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Just strap it to the area requiring therapy, making sure the device is directly over the target muscle, then choose whether you want to apply cold or hot air. There are three settings each for hot and cold, so you get to choose if the max settings are a bit too hot or too cold for your needs, while a contrast setting delivers both hot and cold at the same time, although we’ve never used that, since we’re not entirely sure how that’s supposed to be beneficial (we’ll get around to it eventually, probably). They recommend using the cold therapy 18 minutes at a time, the heat therapy 24 minutes at a time, and the contrast setting 20 minutes at a time.

Therabody RecoveryTherm Cube Instant Heat, Cold...
  • Replace Messy Ice Packs and Inconsistent Heating Pads: Introducing RecoveryTherm Cube, our portable,...
Buy Now – $149

Roll Recovery R8 Plus

It’s not the most intuitive tool on the list. In fact, the first time you see it, you probably won’t even think it’s a massage tool of sorts. However, this unusual take on the handheld roller offers some impressive ease of use when working on quads, hamstrings, and other leg muscles, as the unique design allows you to target two sides of the muscle at the same time. It also offers a variety of grips for more versatile ergonomics, while coming with a dial that lets you adjust the pressure, so you won’t have to put in any force yourself the way you do with more traditional handheld options.

Hydragun Heat Pulse Knee Massager

A lot of training can be hard on the joints and your knees are particularly susceptible. If you’re starting to feel the negative effects your physical activity puts on the knees, this localized massage tool can really help with that. Once strapped to the knee, the device provides sustained heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (it’s adjustable), along with pulsing vibrations on either side of the knee. Used regularly, this can really help alleviate any tightness, stiffness, and soreness in the area, all while increasing blood flow to help heal any damage to tissues and ligaments.

HYDRAGUN HeatPulse Knee Massager with Heat and...
  • DESIGNED FOR KNEE ARTHRITIS - Relieve chronic knee stiffness and pain. HeatPulse heated knee brace...

Compex Sport Elite 3.0

Yes, it looks like your iPod from the 2000s. However, this workout recovery tool is actually an EMS device that uses electrical stimulation to help alleviate pain, enhance blood circulation, and potentiate fibers on any muscle you target. It comes with 10 built-in programs that include two to warm up the muscles, four for strengthening them,  three for muscle recovery, and one for pain relief. While it’s not our personal favorite, some people we know swear by EMS when it comes to recovery, especially if you’re the type who finds putting pressure on tight muscles a tad too painful. This particular device comes with four outputs, so you can target a quartet of areas at a time, while running on a battery that’s rated for up to eight hours of operation. Do note, the electrical pulses from this can be pretty strong, so make sure to start low and gradually increase until you find the limits of your tolerance level.

Compex Sport Elite 3.0 Muscle Stimulator with TENS...
  • COMPLETELY REDESIGNED – Water resistant silicone sleeve, improved LCD display, center navigation...

Ekrin B37S

When Erkin’s B37 first came out, it turned a lot of heads because it’s a newcomer that delivered a pretty unique set of features. This updated version continues that made the original so good, including the atypical 15-degree angle, which makes it a lot easier to use when massaging hard-to-reach body parts. It also boasts 30 percent more force than its predecessor, which is notable because that massage gun already delivered an impressive 56 pounds of stall force, making this updated model one of the most powerful in the market, while delivering four adjustable speeds (2000 to 3200 RPM) and a fifth speed setting that alternates between 2400 and 3200 RPM to prevent muscle adaptation. Features include six swappable attachments, a reactive force sensor that adjusts force based on how hard you push it, and a battery rated at eight hours of operation.

Ekrin Athletics B37S Massage Gun - Professional...
  • Enhanced Power for Deeper Massage: Engineered with a commercial-grade brushless motor, the B37S...

Inergize Cold+Hot Plunge Tub

If you’re willing to put down a lot of cash for a proper cold and hot immersion tub, this one from Inergize definitely seems well worth the asking price. Able to accommodate individuals up to 6’4”, the tub is large enough to let you sit comfortably with your knees slightly bent, so no need to go cross-legged like you would with traditional circular tubs. What really makes it special, though, is the temperature control it allows via the Chiller machine, which can control the water temperature to stay anywhere within 37 degrees to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it possible to use it for both cold or hot water therapies, depending on what you need at the moment. Do note, getting the water to cool down or heat up can take a few hours, so you’ll want to leave it to do it’s thing before actually getting your fix. Once it reaches desired temperatures, though, it will keep it at that level to your heart’s content, so you can stay as long as your body can handle.

Buy Now – $4,290