Compex First Impressions

Over the last few months Jenna and I have had the opportunity to use a very cool recovery device, it’s called a Compex.  If you don’t know what a Compex is, it’s a muscle stimulator.

I've been using the Compex Wireless Unit for the last few months.  Pretty sleek!

I’ve been using the Compex Wireless Unit for the last few months. Pretty sleek!

The way it works is you place special pads on your skin at each end of the muscle you want to stimulate.  You connect the Compex wires to the pads and once you’ve selected which program you want to run on the device and press start, the Compex will begin to create muscle contractions.

The Compex uses high quality self-adhesive electrodes.

The Compex uses high quality self-adhesive electrodes.

How this aids with recovery is that the contractions begin to flush out waste products from your previous workout and bring in fresh blood containing oxygen and the nutrients your muscles need to recover.  Our bodies will naturally do this on their own but by using the Compex you speed up the process so that your muscles can recover from a hard workout more quickly.

Getting all set up for some Active Recovery.  I tend to use it pretty often on my quads as they take a lot of abuse!

Getting all set up for some Active Recovery. I tend to use it pretty often on my quads as they take a lot of abuse!

The real benefits I’ve seen in my own experience using the device is that by using it after more stressful training sessions during the week, I can recover more quickly and my legs feel fresher for my next session ensuring I get a better quality workout.

Another huge benefit I’ve found is how it helps to release some of my muscles.  It helps relax any tight muscles I’m dealing with which I believe plays a big role in injury prevention.  If you’re dealing with something such as plantar fasciitis it can be used to help alleviate it and also help prevent it.

Selecting the type of program I want to run.  There's multiple varying from Warm up to Strength, Endurance, Recovery, Massage and more.

Selecting the type of program I want to run. There’s multiple varying from Warm up to Strength, Endurance, Recovery, Massage and more.

The devices also aren’t limited to only recovery programs, even though that’s what I’ve been primarily using it for so far.  They include warm up programs you can use before training sessions, endurance, strength and even massage.

The technology has been around for a very long time so there’s no need to worry about any long term risks. Many reputable athletes in the sport of triathlon have been using the product for a while such as Jordan Rapp and Mirinda Carfrae as well as many other athletes in other professional sports.

The Compex comes with a breakdown showing correct pad placement to stimulate various muscle groups.

The Compex comes with a breakdown showing correct pad placement to stimulate various muscle groups.

Things I was unsure about when first using the device was how it would feel once I turned it on as well as how I would know where to appropriately place the pads.  The Compex supplies a breakdown of examples of how to appropriately place pads on different muscle groups.  There’s also no harm in placing pads incorrectly, it will just provide a less effective muscle contraction.  In terms of how it feels, it feels like my muscle contracting without my brain telling it to contract, I don’t know how better to explain it.  You can control the intensity of the contraction on the device.  It starts at zero when you begin a program so you can turn it up to a desired comfortable level.

Now this is how you recover!!  You definitely can't watch TV while drinking a beer on a foam roller.

Now this is how you recover!! You definitely can’t watch TV while drinking a beer on a foam roller.

If interested in trying one out, North Shore Athletics has demo units available and they will also be at the Ironman Canada expo this week in Whistler where you can try one out.  I’ll be at their booth from 2-3 pm on Thursday as well as 11-12 pm and 3-4 pm on Friday if interested in asking me more about it.

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