The Best Recovery Tools for When Your Muscles Are Sore AF
Hyperice Vyper 2.0
This looks like your average foam roller, but the guts are totally high-tech. Inside, there's a powerful motor that controls three levels of vibrating frequency. Choose your setting depending on the intensity you want, then roll out as you normally would. The vibration gets deep into your muscles for greater activation, loosening muscles, improving circulation, and reducing soreness. The makers claim it can increase your range of motion by up to 40 percent, as compared to 18 percent with a traditional roller. (Related: 7 Common Foam Rolling Mistakes You're Probably Making)
Mobility WOD Gemini
Releasing your back muscles with recovery tools can be dangerous if you don't do it right (too much pressure on your spine can lead to injury). But this little guy allows you to safely tackle your upper and mid back without putting pressure on your thoracic spine. Bonus: It's also great to use on the outside of your shins if you have shin splints, and on your feet.
Another super-powered recovery tool, this hefty pick is a favorite of pro athletes and physical therapists—and is a favorite of Shape editors. It combines frequency, amplitude, and torque for ultimate vibration therapy. The drill-like device was designed by a chiropractor who was recovering from his own injury and needed something to break up scar tissue and relieve pain. A rotating head and multiple attachment options make it easy to get into tough spots like your hip flexors and rotator cuff muscles. (Related: These Are the Best Exercises to Relieve Sore Hip Flexors)
Brazyn Life Morph Collapsible Foam Roller
Take recovery on the go with this portable foam roller designed by a former NFL player (as seen on Shark Tank). The cylindrical roller flattens with the pull of a cord, so you can easily pack it in a carry-on, bring it to the gym, or store it under your bed. You can also purchase separate machine-washable skins to cover the outside, making it easy to keep it clean from bacteria. (Related: Surprising Ways to Use Your Foam Roller)
The small size of this vibrating massage ball makes it perfect for your gym bag. Use it to release trigger points and target areas like your glutes, shoulders, and feet that are harder to get with larger foam rollers. The textured surface combines silicone with a hard shell to break up muscle tissue. (Related: This $6 Amazon Purchase Is the Single Best Recovery Tool I Own)
Made from a firm plastic material with specially designed claws, this massage stick breaks up the fascia in every part of your body. You control the intensity by how much pressure you apply to the stick with your arms, rather than putting the full force of your body weight on the tool like a foam roller. But be warned: The dense material can be powerful if you're not used to using recovery tools. (Related: What Is Fascia and Why Does It Even Matter?)
SKLZ Massage Roller
The adjustable balls allow you to target different areas of your body with the same tool and customize it based on your needs. Attached handles let you easily adjust the pressure, or use them as a stretching strap. (Related: Common Foam Rolling Mistakes You're Probably Making)
This reimagined foam roller adapts to every area of your body to deliver the perfect amount of pressure, whether to small hands or to muscular thighs. It can be used for both trigger point and active release massage techniques. An included guide shows you how to hit every spot for a total-body massage. (Related: Legit, Science-Backed Ways a Sports Massage Can Improve Your Workout)
Gaiam Restore Hot and Cold Foot Roller
Use this roller at room temperature, or place it in hot water or the freezer for added stimulation. It holds its temperature for up to 20 minutes—just long enough to get some relief for your feet. The raised center portion gets deep into your arch, while the textured surface kneads the tiny muscles of your foot. This is a must for runners who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
TimTam All New Power Massager
Similar to the TheraGun (but a little less pricey), this next-level recovery tool uses intense vibration to get deep into your trouble spots. The vibration frequency is a tad slower than the TheraGun, but the attachments options are firmer, so it's great if you want to break up extra-dense muscles. Take your pick based on how powerful you prefer your self-massage.
Rad Helix Roller
Another great tool for freeing up tension in your back, this tool is larger and softer than the Mobility WOD Gemini, but also features a cut out spot to keep pressure off your spine. Because it's gentler and extends further across your back, it can be used for extension and rotation of your low back. It's also versatile enough for your glutes and hamstrings.
TriggerPoint MB1 Massage Ball
Lacrosse balls are a favorite tool for self-massage among trainers and athletes, but they can be too intense for some people. This ball is similar in size, but not as hard. It's designed to mimic the pressure of a massage therapist's hand. The slip-resistant texture also makes it easier to use than a lacrosse ball. Use it on muscles like your lats, pecs, tibialis anterior (located on the outside of your lower leg), and feet—spots that are awkward with a large foam roller. (More here: How to Relieve Tight Muscles Without a Foam Roller)
If you’ve ever been to see a chiropractor or physical therapist you know the power of e-stim, or electronic stimulation, to help loosen your tight muscles. But when you eventually recover and phase out of PT, you find yourself thinking of an excuse to go back just for the soothing effects of the e-stim. (Too bad spas don’t offer this as a service, right?) Well, now you can take the power of e-stim with you just about anywhere thanks to Powerdot. The on-the-go muscle stimulation system is connected to your smartphone via an app that allows your muscles to loosen and recover with no foam rolling required.
Is it a foam roller? Or a water bottle? Yep—it's both. The Mobot is a two-in-one product perfect for recovering on-the-go. Foam rollers are hard to tote around, but this water-bottle size roller can fit inside your gym bag or clip onto a backpack for easy travel. Bonus: You can fill it with cold or warm water for a cooling or warming experience while rolling.