In the world of professional sports, recovery is as important as drills, strength training and practice. Little surprise that most top teams and sporting facilities stock their treatment and therapy rooms with the latest tech to help their athletes recover from the toils of a game in the shortest time possible. The NormaTec 2.0 leg recovery system is one such cutting edge technology that has been used by the pros, even in India, for a few years now.
However, with Hyperice having entered the Indian market recently, this leg recovery system is finally available for everyone. Most tech used in a professional sports recovery room is advanced and doesn’t come cheap. Retailing at ₹96,999, this one definitely isn’t priced at the affordable end of the spectrum. However, if you can look past the high cost, this is certainly a very useful recovery system to have at your disposal, as I found out after being sent a trial unit in mid-August.
What is it? It is a recovery system that provides compression therapy for your lower body, right from the feet all the way up to your upper thighs and hamstrings. It has a box-like unit with a digital display that runs on a rechargeable battery. To this power unit a tube with two outlets is connected and each outlet of this tube is in turn connected to the leg sleeves. You are supposed to zip up the sleeves over your legs while sitting or lying down in a comfortable position with your legs stretched out straight in front of you.
The NormaTec 2.0 uses dynamic air compression to administer the compression therapy to your legs, and the flow and pressure of air in the sleeves are controlled by the unit to which they are connected. There is a basic duotone digital display with touch sensitive buttons, with a power button on the top face of the unit. After turning this on, you could use the four buttons near the top of the screen to choose the duration (5 minute intervals) and intensity (graded 1-7) of the therapy. There is a start and pause button at the bottom of the screen and another button for Zone Boost, to deliver extra pressure and compress a particular area for a longer time.
How to use it? Fully charge the power unit if you want to use the NormaTec 2.0 without plugging it to a power outlet. When you begin your session, the air moves in and quickly fills up both leg sleeves, starting at your toes and up to your upper thighs. Once the entire sleeve is inflated, the power unit then manipulates air in the leg sleeves, which is divided into five sections with Section 1 being the toe end of the sleeve and Section 5 being the upper thigh end.
More air moves in compressing your feet. It moves into the section around your ankles and achilles tendon, followed by calves, knees, thighs and upper thighs and hamstrings, one by one compressing each part for about 30 seconds before moving to the next part of the leg till it reaches the upper thigh. As it moves up, it gradually relieves the compression in the lower extremities thereby creating a feeling of pulling and massaging your muscles.
The Hyperice app on your phone can be used as a remote to activate or deactivate certain sections, change the timer and pressure or even to pick a pre-loaded session. The app also lets you switch a lot more easily between the classic pulse mode, which is the default setting, and the sequence mode. The difference between the two modes isn’t that much.
How is it? I started training thrice a week for a half marathon in July and still get in around four strength training or CrossFit sessions alongside that. Needless to say, my legs would gladly accept a deep tissue massage every weekend. But that requires a visit to a physiotherapist. With the NormaTec 2.0, I just get back, clean up, and slip into the leg sleeves and turn on the post-run recovery. The dynamic air compression massage that this recovery system delivers brings immediate relief to sore legs and also improves blood circulation in the tired limbs, helping them recover quicker and be ready for the next training session.
Compression therapy is thought to prevent swelling, regulate blood flow, and stabilise the muscles in the body, say experts. “Studies have shown that compression therapy can provide a number of benefits, including reduced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improved athletic performance,” says Dr Amite Pankaj Aggarwal, director and head of the department of orthopaedics at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi.
It actually works. It is so relaxing that often I have fallen asleep in the middle of a session. And not just for those who are active but anyone who spends any amount of time on their feet, this recovery system is heaven sent. It is especially good around the claves, knees and quadriceps. An uncle of mine in his 60s who does no exercise at all other than whatever walking and standing is required in his office, used the NormaTec 2.0 for 20 minutes one evening and he had dozed off with a contented smile on his face. It brings relief and definitely leaves me ready for the next day’s workout.
It delivers excellent compression therapy using dynamic air compression.
Leaves legs a lot less sore.
Improves blood circulation.
Help tackle post-run, post-football swelling.
Can adjust pressure and duration as per one’s needs.
Price. Even though it is being sold at a discounted price of ₹80,990, it is still expensive.
It is the older version. Normatec 3.0 is already available overseas.
When you try to change the pressure mid-way through a session, once in a while it just stops working though the timer doesn’t. So, you need to restart the session at the desired pressure.
The connecting tube is thick and often comes in the way in the beginning.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.