One of the most widely accepted, yet least advertised ways of increasing muscle recovery after extreme bouts of exercise is the use of ice, or cryotherapy. Ice is a proven modality not only in the rehabilitation of injured muscles and joints, but also in helping with the inflammation associated with muscle soreness. Cooling the tissues causes the vessels to constrict, slowing or halting the inflammatory process. This allows the body to recover more quickly and begin the process of rebuilding. ZAMST carries several icing products that make cryotherapy much easier to perform. The IW-1 can be used to ice most of the joints and muscles of the arms and legs, while the IW-2 is designed for the shoulder and back. Both are composed of an easy to fill ice bag and wrap to help hold it in place. We recommend icing for 20 minutes, allowing the body to come completely back to its normal temperature before repeating. Ice is a scientific and time tested way of fighting the inflammatory response after exercise, something virtually every professional athlete will attest too.
Another, somewhat newer approach, is the use of compression sleeves to physically decrease the tissue space after exercise, essentially making less room for swelling to occur. ZAMST offers a great product here as well; the LC-1 compression sleeve. Together, ice and compression can offer decreased muscle soreness and recovery times, increased performance levels, as well as help to prevent injury.
Robbie Davis, CSCS, ATC, PES