Which Workout Recovery Methods Actually Work?

We all know that feeling of waking up the day after a hard workout and discovering that muscles you didn’t even know existed are sore. Today, techniques such as foam rolling, cupping, and dry needling are all being touted as a way to get an edge when it comes to recovering from a tough workout and improving athletic performance. Trying to determine which of these recovery methods to try can be overwhelming, so we will break it down and examine which methods are backed by science and which are merely providing a placebo.

For those looking to supplement their regular stretching routine …

Foam rolling is popular for both pre and post-workouts and acts as a sort of massage for your legs to break up tight muscle tissue. Studies have found that foam rolling is effective and helps to improve flexibility. For those who are feeling limber and looking for a deeper massage, try using a tennis ball or even a golf ball, as these smaller objects can hone in on key areas more efficiently.

For those experiencing more serious pain …

Unlike foam rolling, dry needling should be done by a trained physical therapist. Dry needling breaches the skin and looks to find overly tight muscle fibers to release with the needle. Benefits can include reducing pain as well as restoring movement to the area. Not to be confused with acupuncture (which is not widely accepted as beneficial in Western medicine), dry needling has proven to be effective in helping to manage persistent, stubborn pain in muscles.

For those looking to try something outside the box …

Cupping gained worldwide attention when Olympic athletes arrived at their events with giant blue-ish circles on their arms and legs. Immediately, people were curious and a quick search revealed that the circles were marks from cupping therapy. Cupping works by placing suction cups on an area to try to reduce pain and increase circulation.

The benefits of cupping therapy are mixed. There is no conclusive evidence from studies that cupping proves it relieves pain; however, many athletes swear by it, so if you are out of other alternatives, then it could be beneficial to try cupping therapy.

Picture Credit: Google Creative Common Licenses, Shutterstock

Related Posts


Below are bets that I actually make. My approach entails aggregating conversations with extremely respected oddsmakers and bettors,…
Read More

Preview: Friday NBA card 🎥

Friday's NBA slate involves six games, including an ESPN double-header. The Sixers and Celtics renew their rivalry, while the Nuggets are road favorites in Phoenix.
Read More

Preview: 14-game NBA slate on Wed. 🎥

Wednesday's NBA card features 14 NBA games, including an ESPN double-header. The schedule also includes the Indiana Pacers, who have gone over the total in 12 of their 13 games.