I know that recovery is something to take seriously, and I have been good for the most part. I take rest days, and I eat healthy to help recovery. I have been trying to do more to improve my mobility, but man do I hate to use the foam roller. Just hate it. Period.
For the past two months, I have been dabbling with the PowerDot 2.0 muscle stimulator. I know the $300 price tag might turn people away, but let me tell you something...you have spent more money on stuff you don't need as much as this. Like that new skinsuit you just bought for cyclocross season.
The PowerDot provides several options for the cyclist, and I have been using three: recovery, strength, and TENS pain relief. After a long ride or hard workout, I put the PowerDots on (usually on my quads), and I let them do their thing in one of the Recovery modes. After twenty minutes, my quads feel great. It works great on your IT band also, which for me is the area where foam rolling will put me through the roof. Just hate it. Period.
Calves and hamstrings get their time in as well, but primarily I use the PowerDots for recovery on my quads. You just select the program you want and attach the pads. The unit stimulates your muscles and helps flush the junk out. I am not a doctor, so I don't quite want to try to explain how it works, but it does. I often use the Active or Extended Recovery modes depending on how hard I rode and how much time I have. It's great to slap on after a shower and while watching television.
The stim units attach with sticky pads and small magnetic nubs. The pads last months with care and the cost $18 to replace. The charge on the "pods" lasts weeks, pretty amazing. The whole system is rechargeable via USB and works wirelessly with your smartphone.
You can manipulate the intensity of the "shock" which might be familiar to those of us who have gone to the chiropractor and spent time on his stim machine. He sticks the pads on your lower back and says, "Let me know when it hurts" as he cranks the electricity up. I try to go as hard as I can take, but I find this hard to explain in words. You just have to try it.
On days when I cannot get out and should have, I have been using the PowerDot's strength building mode, trying out the fast twitch explosive power type workouts. Unlike the constant stimulation of the recovery modes, the strength building modes have a contraction sort of section where you should try to resist. It is quite intense, and you can set the level and also allow for the unit to gradually increase in level as it goes. I feel like my legs are sore afterwards, and I do not feel like I have been losing a step when life gets in the way of workouts. I feel like the recovery and strength building has really been a help.
When I hurt my shoulder in a cyclocross race last month, I tried the TENS mode which is a pain relief mode. The app will walk you through how to place the pads and ask how much pain you are in etc.... I followed the program for 3 or 4 days, and I have to say it worked better to relieve my pain than Aleve, lidocaine pads, or icing it.
I could see the PowerDot as a big relief for people who are suffering from back pain, although I have to admit that I have not really used it on my back because of one obvious reason...how do you get the pads back there and connect the wires by yourself? If you have friends or a partner that wants to help, you might have better luck.
I'm not a doctor, and I cannot say you should try this without talking to your own doctor, which I didn't do, but I really like the product. If I had to choose between this and the skinsuit, I would pick this. If I had to pick between this and a power meter on the cross bike, I would pick this.
As I get older, recovery and pain relief are more important than ever to me. I feel like when used in moderation, the PowerDot 2.0 system is working wonders for me, and I feel like I haven't even yet begun to scratch the surface of what it can do yet.