JP sends in a review of a new product he's been testing.
I just got back from a standard Saturday morning smash fest on the bike. My buddy Larry and I ripped through three seven-minute intervals at ~425 watts uphill and then hit a hard 5-mile climb called Rockstore. Rockstore is a great climb and was featured in the Tour of California. No matter how fast you ride it, it seems to sap your legs of whatever is left.
A couple years ago, that ride would have been the end of a really solid day and I would have bagged it and lounged around for the rest of the day. I might have needed to recover the following day. However, as I get further into the sport, the standard volume of workouts and weekly training load has bummed up significantly as feeding my endorphin addiction has become increasingly difficult. Full rest is rarely on the agenda. As I ramp up the training, the body needs a bit of extra love in order to bounce back. After a year of injury, I have become proactive with the little things that keep you on the road and rolling. Foam rolling, elevating your legs, and compression socks are all excellent starters. But I am always in search of the next thing. I am a tinkerer. Ice baths have always been effective for me and I came across a product that gets you the same effect and is a bit more practical.
On my first use, I found putting 8 Velcro straps sort of cumbersome. They are also limited in terms of how tightly you can wrap the straps but once they were on, they felt awesome. Not too cold, but just right. I used them for 15 minutes for the first time and that amount of time seemed right as well.
Putting them to the test through the last 4 months, I have noticed less soreness as you would expect with icing. It allowed me to up my volume without carrying that deep muscle soreness that used to follow me around. The fatigue was still present but the ache was gone. I often used them twice a day on heavy multiple workout days. I found them most effective though when I combined using them with a pre-ice flushing massage. I massage my quads, calves, and hamstrings and then put the Podium colds on and it seems to help considerably more.
One thing I noticed though was when they get wet from melting; they accumulate a bit of moisture on the inside of the legs. This moisture turns to frost in the freezer and can burn your skin if you apply it directly. I solved this by wiping the wraps down with a towel and then wearing tights before using them.
Overall, my experience with the Podium Colds has been excellent. I tested these for four solid months and they have been a worthwhile addition to my routine and have helped me stay injury free through some very heavy blocks of training and racing. I use them nearly on a daily basis when really getting after it. At $99, they are a very affordable substitute for the thousand-dollar compression pump and serve a similar function of flushing your legs out, speeding recovery, and reducing soreness.
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