As I’ve gotten
older wiser, I’ve found myself more and more interested in “pre-hab,” meaning proactively doing something to prevent an injury BEFORE it happens. (This is opposed to REHAB, which is what you have to do to restore your body back to its original, healthy state AFTER an injury has occurred.) This could mean loosening tight muscles through trigger point massage, realigning the body through yoga or chiropractic care, or even just making the right nutritional choices to help your body refuel and rebuild. While a lot of pre-hab can be done without any extra pieces of equipment, our gear junkie family has found several products to be helpful in bringing our bodies back in balance after long climbing trips or logging a lot of miles on the bike/trail. Here’s a few of our favorites…
FOAM ROLLER – I’m assuming most of you are familiar with the concept of a foam roller. If you’re not, the gist of it is that it enables the user to apply pressure to very specific tight spots (trigger points.) The pressure causes the muscles to release and relax. I use one regularly on my IT band, as running always makes it really tight, and if not kept under control seems to lead to hip/knee pain. Recently we got the chance to try out the GRID Mini, from Trigger Point Performance Therapy. I was a little skeptical at first because it seemed so small (it’s only 5 inches wide), but it works surprisingly well. And the best part is that it can go anywhere – it’s small enough to easily fit in a suitcase, and it’s completely hollow, so it can easily be strapped to the outside of a backpack as well!
ARMAID – This is not the first time I’ve sung the praises of this product (full review found here.) It’s basically a foam roller for your forearms (though hubby used it on a finger injury and swears up and down it helped, maybe from increasing blood flow to the area?) It’s very adjustable for different sized forearms as well as different amounts of pressure, and though oddly shaped, is easy to travel with because it seems to be pretty much indestructable. Any climber who has ever suffered from sore elbows and “perma-pumped” forearms NEEDS to have one of these waiting for you when you come home at night!
THERACANE – This is another must-have for climbers, as well as paddlers, backpackers, or even someone stuck behind a desk all day. This hook-shaped device enables the user to really dig into those lingering sore spots in the back and shoulders to release trigger points and relieve tight muscles. It takes a while to figure out how to best target your trouble spots, but once you do, you’ll want to use this every day!
POSTURE PLUS – Even though hubby and I don’t have any back problems, we jumped at the chance to try this product out. It looks sort of like a semi-hard foam cushion, and it supports your body in such a way that maintains correct posture and body alignment while you sit. It also engages the core muscles. Our verdict? Pretty darn comfortable to sit on! (And very easy to adjust for multiple users!)
STRESS ROLLER – Yet another self-massage tool (with all of these products available, it’s clear that keeping muscles loose and limber is a big part of pre-hab!) The stress roller is the most portable on this list. It’s basically two balls (out of the gutter, folks…) encased in a neoprene covering. It can be used pretty much anywhere on your body – standing on a wall with one roller on either side of my spine felt heavenly! It also worked really well on my glutes – all I had to do was sit on it while watching TV!
With the exception of the Posture Plus (it’s on the chair in the office), all of these products reside upstairs beside the TV so we can break them out whenever we’re just hanging out. Some of them (in particular the Armaid and Theracane) actually get tossed into the Craggin’ Wagon on a regular basis so we can pass them around the campfire at the end of a long day on the rocks (reading that makes me realize how geriatric our family sounds…but I’m far too old to care, because these products work!!!)
But whether you are old as dirt or just a spring chicken, pre-hab is a good idea. So that’s why I’m excited about all of these giveaways! The good folks at Trigger Point Performance are offering up a GRID Mini Roller, and the Back Joy is generously giving away a Posture Plus AND Stress Roller package! All you have to do is enter via the two Rafflecopter widgets (one for each prize) below any time from now until Monday, June 16th at midnight EST. ADDITIONALLY, Back Joy is offering a FREE Posture Plus SitSmart for the first 500 folks to take the #PosturePledge challenge (and as of last week there were still 340 left to give away, so your odds are pretty good!) If you know anything about social media, taking the pledge is a cinch, and instructions can be found here at this link.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what everyone else thinks of these products if you’ve tried them…as well as any other novelties we should add to our “prehab closet!”