I'm sure many of you have seen or heard of a Normatec, a recovery device for your legs using what is known as Pneumatic Compression. Think of it as a personal masseuse that is always waiting to massage and flush your legs to speed up your next-day recovery.
When Normatec was first introduced, Allen Lim (Skratch) dubbed them Space Legs, and the name stuck. We get a lot of questions about Normatec and pneumatic compression in general, so I wanted to share my thoughts.
Yes, it is yet another thing you might "have to" buy for your training, but I can share from my experience that this one is worth it.
Does Pneumatic compression work?
YES! They work exceptionally well, which is why so many athletes (and virtually every pro athlete) spend 20 minutes a day in them while doing emails, watching TV, or just enjoying a meditation break.
How does it work?
You zip yourself into the boots and turn on the pump. Twenty minutes later, you unzip, and your legs will feel lighter and more recovered.
What happens is that the air chambers fill with air (and they get pretty tight) and push out interstitial fluid around your muscle and fascia, including metabolic waste from your workout, towards your heart. The chambers compress from your feet towards your hips in a graduated manner.
Aren't they expensive?
Admittedly they are not cheap and are something to "treat" yourself with for all the hard training you are doing. Once you have a unit, I promise you will use it multiple times per week. Compared to the price of massages, you will pay for the device in under a month or two.
This past week there have been some significant innovations in the space:
Theragun introduced three new RecoveryAir devices (their competitor to Normatec), and this includes their entirely wireless system called Jet Boots, which I think will be huge. We are one of the first retailers to have them available but order soon as they are going fast.
Here is what you need to know. First, you can save money and not buy the "Pro" device unless you want the best of the best. The only advantage with the Pro is more configuration options that only pro athletes or athletic trainers need.
I recommend you choose one of the following devices:
1) Hyperice Normatec 2.0: for the most reliable and industry-leading solution. It is now whisper quiet, and you can wear them around other people while watching TV, and they won't even know they are on. Normatec is the original pneumatic compression device and is highly reliable. You can't go wrong choosing Normatec.
2) Theragun RecoveryAir Jet Boots: Theragun released three new RecoveryAir devices this week. They have the Prime that competes with the Normatec 2.0, and they have a Pro that matches up with the Normatec Pro Device. But the one that has caught my attention is the fully wireless Jet Boots.
Here is what makes the Jet Boots unique. The Normatec and regular RecoveryAir devices have boots you zip on and an external pump connected to the boots via hose(s). In comparison, the Jet Boots have the pump built into foot each boot: no external device and no hoses.
You get the same compression power in the Jet Boots but a much more portable and convenient design. This makes it easier to slip them on and start your session while at home, and the more compact design is vital for travel for training and races.
Enjoy the sweet relief of pneumatic compression therapy (I'm in my 4-year old Normatec unit right now as I type this!).