As an athlete you want to do whatever you can to recover well so you're ready to compete when needed. But who enjoys spending money on things that don't work? Not me! And I can assume that you also don't enjoy that, but there are a TON of products out in the world and there are a TON of brands out there selling similar things. This makes it difficult to know what is actually going to work and if the brand is a good one. I have spent a lot of time trying different products out and I have found some things that just work really well and are worth the money and time you put into using them.
1. Rock Mat And Toe Seperators:
Their claim is that Standing on and exercising on the Rock Mat helps to stimulate the nerve endings in your feet, reduce pain and promote relaxation. They also claim that wearing the Toe Spacers for as little as 10 minutes a day can help to improve foot mobility and repair damage from wearing narrow toe box shoes. They also can help with plantar fasciitis, bunions, corns, hammertoes, blisters or overlapping toes. There are 26 bones in each foot, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your feet have a huge impact on how you walk, pain you may be feeling in your upward joints, and your performance. Which is why I spend a ton of time barefoot to allow my feet to move as they naturally should and help with all of the damage from wearing narrow shoes and soccer cleats by putting on the toe spacers. Your toes should be able to splay apart, and move individually. Reclaiming the strength and mobility in your feet/toes will do wonders to your body and performance. The soles of the foot are packed with sensory fibres and nerve endings that pick up temperature, pressure, and vibrations. Much of the sensory information enters through our feet and sends signals to the brain. And if you think about it, most of the time these sensory points in our feet are trapped in shoes. And if information isn’t able to be sensed by the brain or nervous system, it could lead to delayed stabilization or inaccurate movements. Most athletes I see have no idea how to control or move their feet, let alone their individual toes and they struggle because of it. I personally really like these toe spacers because it allows the pinky toe to move freely.
I debated for a while on getting this combo. It's more expensive to me but I use these everyday and I make sure to use them after games and practices. After a few hours of wearing narrow soccer cleats my toes/feet BEG to be to be on the rock mat. My arches feel better and my toes are more flexible and aren’t smooshed together-there’s actually space in between my toes. I also have much more control over my toes, and as someone who suffered from plantar faascitis for years-this is amazing.
2. Acumobility Ball: The accumobility ball shares a similar purpose with the foamroller but the ball is used for more intense myofascial release and deep trigger point mobility work. You could just use a lacrosse ball but a lacrosse ball is a bit more awkward and slides-the flat bottom on this ball is convenient because it stays in place. I won't train without first using this ball. I love it! I will note that they have a the orange level 1 that's less dense for beginners and a blue level 2 for more advanced athletes.
Everyone should have a good foamroller that they use regularly. I recommend learning how to actually use one rather than just try to do random stuff with it though. They can be very effective in increasing range of motion, reducing pain, and reducing muscle soreness when used correctly. Remember that foamrolling won’t take awy your pain alone-there are many other factors that can go into that.
4. Mouth tape:
Some benefits to nose breathing: reduced exposure to foreign substances, humidifies and warms inhaled air, increases air flow to arteries, veins, and nerves, increases oxygen uptake and circulation, slows down breathing, improves lung volume, helps your diaphragm work properly, lowers your risk of allergies and hay fever, reduces your risk of coughing, aids your immune system, lowers your risk of snoring and sleep apnoea, supports the correct formation of teeth and mouth, and more. There are no benefits to mouth breathing and I found that I was breathing through my mouth at night because I would wake up with a sore throat. That's when I did some research and discovered mouth tape. I use 3M medical tape but you can also use specifically designed mouth tape. I like the 3M becuase it’s sticky and doesn’t come off during the night.
Add these to your recovery routine and let me know how you like them! If you found this article helpful and are looking for training shoot me an email, I would be glad to help you.