All athletes can benefit from using the right massage tools. These powerful and affordable tools can mimic a pricey professional massage from the comfort of your home.
Whether you’re running once a week or every day, the best massage tools can help you warm up before a workout and soothe your muscles after. Use them any day in between to keep your body in top shape.
Massage tools can help:
Massage tools range in form, function and price. Some are small enough to toss in a travel bag or suitcase, and others provide pinpoint accuracy to really dig into stubborn soreness or nagging knots. But you can also find larger models for fuller coverage or power them up with vibration or percussion.
From motorized models with long-lasting batteries to classic tools of the trade, here are some of the best massage tools to bring you relief:
Percussion massagers use powerful motors to hammer away at knots, sore spots and tightness.
While more expensive than unpowered options, percussion massagers deliver precise work and consistent pressure with minimal effort from the user. There are also a range of models that span different price tiers; typically, these units run from around $200 to more than $500.
More money can get you more accessories or a wider range of device options, but all these massage tools do essentially the same thing: jackhammer-like action breaks up fascia and loosens muscles.
Perfect for runners, lifters and any athlete, these percussion massagers can help you accelerate your warmup and optimize your recovery.
Foam rollers are one of the original recovery products, but they have recently gotten a bump in power thanks to internal motors.
Traditional foam rollers are tubes of firm foam or plastic wrapped in foam that help you massage muscles both large and small. Modern foam rollers, though, incorporate textured surfaces that can dig deeper into muscle tissue.
The new crop of powered foam rollers takes the simple art of rolling to the next level by adding vibration. Vibrating foam rollers shake at high frequencies to help alleviate aches and encourage recovery.
Like a foam roller, a massage stick is a low-tech option for warm up and recovery.
A massage stick in its most basic form is a straight bar with motorcycle-grip handles on the ends. Again like a foam roller, the goal is to run the stick over muscle tissue to loosen the area and increase range of motion.
Many massage sticks incorporate rolling balls, gears or textured sleeves that can make it easier to move across skin and get deep into muscles. One of the major benefits of massage sticks is that it gets you off the floor, so you can massage muscles while sitting or standing.
These sticks also let you adjust the pressure easier than foam rollers. Massage sticks let you press harder for a deeper massager or lighten up for an easier feel.
You can turn any old tennis ball or lacrosse ball into an effective foot massager, but a few specialized models make it easier to keep your dogs in top shape.
Foot massagers help loosen and stretch the plantar fascia, which can help alleviate (or prevent) the dreaded condition known as plantar fasciitis. They also just feel great after a big run or a long day on your feet.
These simple tools are affordable, effective and easy to stash in a travel bag, making them great companions to your training and recovery regimens.