Ok, it looks ridiculous, but the idea behind it seems simple enough: pump air into large inflatable sleeves running the length of the legs to increase blood flow, clear post-workout waste products, reduce swelling, provide massage, and speed recovery. With those benefits in mind — and knowing that it could be used in the privacy of my own home — I decided to give the recovery pump a try.
The Recovery Pump is described as an “FDA approved, medical grade SIPC- Sequential, Intermittent, Pneumatic, Compression device with 4-chambered sleeves that inflation sequential from the toes to the base of the buttocks.” Imagine a giant blood pressure cuff, inflating to squeeze your legs from the bottom on up, and you’ll get the basic idea.
I decided to give the Recovery Pump a challenging test: I would use it immediately after running a marathon. My session began soon after I crossed the finish line. I laid each of my legs in an inflatable sleeve, and zippered them up from my foot to my hip. Next I used the pump’s controls to select compression force and interval times, and flipped the on switch.
The pump began to fill immediately, providing a squeezing sensation around my foot, and then my calf and my thighs. After a short period, the sleeves emptied, and the process began again.
It felt great. Even if I didn’t experience all of the promised benefits, I was sold. And the next day I felt better than I usually do following a marathon run. I had less soreness and stiffness, and had better than usual range of motion in my leg joints.
While recovery certainly is based on many factors - including the level of training, pre- and post-race fueling and hydration, and the percentage of max effort at which a race is run - I felt that the Recovery Pump had something to do with how good I felt.
Based on my own experience, the I consider the Recovery Pump to be a useful and effective tool for athletes. For those of you with the means to buy one (the cost is about $1,200, with some discounts often available) it’s an investment I reommend making. For more inforation, including a page on applicable research results, see the company website at http://www.recoverypump.com.