If Taylor and I were members of the 1%, we would have resident masseuses on staff. Until then, we’re relegated to peasant stretching and massage tools, save for the occasional overdue massage. Fear not – there are plenty of ways to keep your body limber without breaking the bank: the total cost of buying all five of these tools is less than a standard deep tissue massage in most cities. Above all, consistency reigns supreme: I’m convinced that some of my best results and periods of recovery can be attributed to my stretching and myofasical release exercises before and after workouts. In spite of the inevitable time sink, loose muscles and ligaments are faster and more efficient; give these a try for a few weeks! These are our five favorite at tools to aid in our self-healing at home.
1. Foam roller – the gold standard for at home myofascial release. There are few areas of the body that it can’t reach, and this versatile device is particularly effective on IT bands and quads. There are different shapes, sizes and densities – we use the black foam roller which is available in many gyms and sporting good stores – not to mention Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Black-High-Density-Foam-Rollers/dp/B0026HYWRW
2. Stretch-out Strap: it’s a yoga strap with loops. Big deal, right? Wrong. It’s extremely resilient and provides a substantial amount of leverage unless you’re three or eight feet tall. Like the foam roller, the SOS can be used to hit almost any muscle group. I find it particularly effective for my calves and hamstrings. Bonus points: it’s extremely easy to squeeze into a suitcase. http://www.amazon.com/Stretch-Out-Strap-New-Instructional-booklet/dp/B00065X222/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1385141624&sr=1-1&keywords=stretch+out+strap
3. Lacrosse ball: it’s small, extremely dense, and is great for hitting trigger points in smaller muscle groups. I use the lacrosse ball for my hip flexors, hamstring knots (by sitting on a table or hard surface), and feet (plantar fascia). This is also great for traveling. The lacrosse ball may be too dense at first, but tennis balls do the trick while providing a little more give. http://www.amazon.com/Lacrosse-Ball-NCAA-Certified-Yellow/dp/B006JANLLU/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1385142186&sr=1-2&keywords=lacrosse+ball
4. Tiger Tail: it’s like The Stick, but a lot better. Think of it as a foam roller coated rolling pin – it has little to no give, and is a great way to knead out stubborn knots. Incorporating a helper to hit places like the neck and back works well too. Like the lacrosse ball and SOS, the Tiger Tail is very easy to pack for travel. http://www.amazon.com/Tiger-Tail-Rolling-Muscle-Massager/dp/B000FCGDAE/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1385142159&sr=1-2&keywords=tiger+tail
5. Rumble Roller: part stretching tool, part medieval torture device, this spiked foam roller helps with relieving tension in almost any part of the body. I use it mostly for my upper back and quads, but Taylor likes to use it on her calves and hamstrings as well. http://www.amazon.com/Rumbleroller-Deep-Tissue-Massage-31-Inch-RumbleRoller/dp/B004INQSPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1385142799&sr=1-1&keywords=rumble+rolle