Ask anyone who works out (or works behind a desk), and they'll likely tell you that muscle soreness is inevitable. You may not find yourself getting achy every time you hit the weights or burn the midnight oil, but at one point or another, your muscles are going to feel tight. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it may also affect your workouts or make day-to-day activities (like typing, bending down, and walking) more of a challenge. The good news? We've rounded up the best recovery products for tight muscles that will help provide relief.
Giving your sore muscles some TLC can help you feel more comfortable and comes with a host of other benefits, too, says Christine Torde, CPT of Body Space Fitness in Manhattan. "Recovery wards off injuries and gives our muscles a chance to repair themselves and grow back stronger, helping us stave off pain and reach our fitness goals," Torde tells us. She stresses that there are many elements of a well-rounded recovery routine, including getting adequate nutrition, hydration, and sleep. But none of these things will rescue your sore muscles quite like self-myofascial release (SMR), which is a hurt-so-good form of self-massage.
To help you feel better, faster, we asked Torde to share the SMR recovery products for tight muscles that she recommends to her clients the most. Stock up on her top picks so you can give your muscles the relief they deserve. Check them out below, and next, be sure to read The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
When most people think about self-massage, a classic foam roller like this one likely comes to mind. Designed to replicate the feeling of a massage therapist's hands, this grooved roller supplies firm compression to help bring blood and oxygen to knotty muscles. Torde says she "always recommends foam rolling" and suggests this particular model to her clients for at-home and gym use because it's affordable and versatile. "Not only can you use this for standard foam rolling exercises, but you can also incorporate it in mobility and movement prep exercises like foam roller angels and foam roller glute bridges as well," Torde tells us.
Lacrosse Massage Balls
While they weren't intended to be used as a massage tool, lacrosse balls do a really great job relieving pain and improving function in sore muscles. Like a foam roller, lacrosse balls are hard and dense. But since they're smaller, they apply more concentrated pressure to smaller areas of the body that need extra TLC, explains Torde, who says she always keeps one in her backpack. "I use it at the gym to warm up or when I travel—it's the best thing to use on your glutes, hamstrings, chest, and shoulders after a long plane ride. I also use it any time my muscles get tight and knotted from sitting for too long or having poor posture."
The Ultimate Massage Roller Stick
The biggest challenge of self-massage is definitely digging into hard-to-reach areas of the body like the calves, shins, and hamstrings. According to Torde, a massage roller stick like this one that's made with thermoplastic rubber and polypropylene handles makes the task far easier. "If a certain area is hard to reach with a foam roller, it's worth trying to hit it with a roller stick. You may need to prop your feet up on a bench or chair to make it easier to work on various parts of the body. But once you find the right position, The Stick makes it easy to go to work."
For more mind and body news, check out The Best Strength Training Exercises For Runners, Trainer Says and Over 40? Quit These 5 Bad Habits For Better Heart Health, Expert Says.