3 Must-Have Training Tools Athletes Can’t Live Without
From training to recovery, if these products work for top athletes, they can work for you too!
Top athletes have access to the crème de la crème of coaches, training facilities, technology and equipment to help them train and compete at their best. And many of us mere mortals assume all those things are way out of our budget or require some elite status to even hope to use. But believe it or not, while you may only dream of having access to the top trainers and facilities in the nation, you can actually use many of the same tools and equipment.
Two top athletes in particular have made innovative yet accessible equipment part of their training and maintenance programs: Lindsey Vonn and Drew Brees. Vonn—a skier who boasts five World Championship medals, 77 World Cup wins (the all-time record for a woman) and two Olympic medals—and Brees, professional quarterback, have both made comebacks from potentially catastrophic injuries with the help of state-of-the-art products.
“The off-season goal each year is to find the best exercises and tools to help Lindsey get ready to meet the demands of competition and skiing at extreme speeds. TheraBand makes those tools,” says Vonn’s physical therapist Lindsay Winninger, PT, owner of Sports Rehab Consulting. “As a pro athlete you have a lot of resources at your disposal, and usually the newest products are readily available. But one thing has stayed consistent over the years, and that is the use of TheraBand resistance bands in her warm up routine and in her in-season maintenance programs.”
And just because professional athletes like Vonn use TheraBand® products doesn’t mean they’re hard to find or even hard to use—athletes use them because they’re effective, no matter the skill level. Here are three products professional athletes use in their everyday routines that anyone can use. And if they work for them, you know they have to be top-notch training tools!
1. Resistance Bands
The TheraBand® CLX™ is a next-level resistance band, largely because of its innovative connected loops. “We use the CLX over any other resistance bands,” says Dr. Kevin Wilk, PT, DPT, and associate clinical director of Champion Sports Medicine. “What makes it so unique is there's no more need for handles, no more tying knots.” All you need to do is hook the CLX to something or loop it around a hand or foot. That ease of use is what makes the CLX band so attractive to all levels of athletes and exercisers.
“I can slip my hand in the loop and I don’t have to worry about wrapping it around my hand. It just makes things a lot easier,” says Vonn, who uses the CLX in the gym and when traveling since it's easy to take anywhere. The CLX is also versatile, allowing you to work your body from head to toe and even work your upper and lower body simultaneously. It’s like having a full gym folded up in your bag!
Vonn’s training plan also involves another go-to tool: TheraBand® Stability Trainers “On her core and balance days, we incorporate the stability trainers for added difficulty during balance exercises,” Winninger says. These high-quality oval-shaped foam pads help improve balance, reflex action, coordination, and strength and agility—all essential skills for athletes. They can also help reduce the risk of injury.
3. Topical Pain Relievers
Sure, sore muscles are part of training. But they don't have to limit you—no matter your age or athletic ability. Drew Brees, professional quarterback, uses Biofreeze® Pain Reliever any time he has training pains. “When I apply Biofreeze to whatever ailing area I might have, I get that immediate sensation like my body's warming up and the pain is slowly going away,” he says. “That then allows me to go out and practice or play a game at a high level.”
Biofreeze works similarly to ice. When applied to your skin, the menthol causes a cooling sensation that blocks pain receptors from reaching the brain. The result: You feel less pain—without the hassle and mess of ice. Plus, in one study, it lasted longer than ice for nine out of 10 patients with neck pain.
Biofreeze can be applied anytime, anywhere, making it a convenient pain relieving option. “Patients love Biofreeze because it helps them feel better, move better and live better,” says Dr. Jay Greenstein, DC and CEO of Sport & Spine Rehab.
Train Like the Pros
Whatever your level of athleticism, CLX bands, Stability Trainers and Biofreeze are affordable, accessible ways to improve your game. Add one or all of them to your training toolbox and see how they help you perform better. And next time you use one of them, you can brag that you’re training like Lindsey Vonn and Drew Brees do!