Monday, November 15, 2010

Recover Faster: Trigger Point Technologies

One of my sponsors, Trigger Point Technologies, was featured on EMS's (Eastern Mountain Sports) website this week. I am traveling with a couple of their tools this trip and I thought I would say thanks for their support by featuring them on my blog, too.

First, here's what EMS had to say about Trigger Point's GRID roller:

Muscle Care and Maintenance from Eastern Mtn. Sports: Improve Circulation, Warm Up More Quickly & Recover Faster
The best gear on the planet won't help you if you're too sore to get out of bed or your legs cramp up after two miles on the trail. At Eastern Mountain Sports, we've seen how recent advances in sports medicine can offer better performance in the backcountry. If you want to warm up more quickly, hike/run/bike/ski longer, and recover faster, here are a few new technologies and tools to think about.


If you've experienced a professional massage, you understand how muscle manipulations can relieve pain and decrease your recovery time. Since you can't take your massage therapist with you on a weekend hike, recovery tools such as The Grid foam roller are a terrific supplement between massage sessions. The Grid is specifically designed to safely and effectively massage your lats, quads, and lower back, and there are plenty of other tools available for other muscle groups that can help you feel better, faster.

I have had four on-snow training sessions and now I have two pretty tight calf muscles. I had surgery for compartment syndrome in my shins (Tibialis Anterior compartment to be exact) 12 years ago, so tight calf and shin muscles have long been an issue of mine, but I was a bit surprised by how quickly they tensed and tightened with the change of ski surface and new boots. I've used Rossignol boots my entire life as a nordic skier/biathlete and this year's model is by far the stiffest. I really like the minimalist design, especially when paired with new skis and the new Rottefella bindings, but am glad to have had a few weeks of rollerskiing in them to adjust.

On snow skiing has really fired up my soleus muscle and made it painful to walk downstairs. I've had a steady routine of icing, heating, massaging, and dynamic stretching to help my calf muscles loosen up, get warmed up and cooled down. Because I am dealing with smaller muscles and I didn't pack the Grid for this trip, I have been using Trigger Point's Massage Ball. Before skiing one specific way that I can release the tension from the balls of my feet to my knees is by rolling along the massage ball. I slowly roll the ball from toe to heel along the muscles in my feet, pausing along the way to give more pressure to a tender spot until it release with increased blood flow.

In the wax room before skiing today using the Trigger Point Technology Massage Ball. Plus, wearing my wind turbine Teko socks. Its hard not to be superstitious when my socks now say "Feel the Power."

Another way this little ball is handy is while stretching after training or an afternoon run. While sitting with both legs stretched forward (like a seated forward bend), I place the ball directly under my soleus muscle. I start just below the thickest part of the gastrocnemius muscle and work my way up. This is a bit more passive and lets gravity do the work, but gives the muscle time to reinvigorate blood flow and promote healing. Plus, I can do it while writing this blog. Afterwards, my whole calf area feels looser and less stiff. This is a good thing because tomorrow is the first race to kick off the season.

Real snow flakes are finally starting to fall here in Canmore! Thankfully we've got a solid 1.2km loop to ski on, but it would be wonderful to get some more and to let winter begin. Tomorrow's race is Sprint - 7.5km (typically) with 2 shooting, prone then standing. It is also the first of three in our World Cup/IBU Cup Team qualifying series. Let it begin!

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