An honest Normatec 3 review from a fitness editor

My hubby and I just finished a HIIT workout, and once we caught our breath, a frenzy ensued. Anyone quick to get off the floor first snags a delicious, restorative, 30-minute session on Hyperis’ Normatec 3 legs. What the heck does that mean? The Normatec 3s are pneumatic compression boots, the latest version of the Normatec Leg Recovery System. They’re basically individual pant legs that attach to a pump, inflating and squeezing different parts of your leg—from your hips to your feet—throughout sessions lasting 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes.

The idea is that NormaTec’s patented rhythmic series of massages, compressions and deflations will help you recover faster by causing de-oxygenated blood and other fluids (such as lactic acid) to leave your legs, allowing new blood flow. Space is created for It feels amazing.

Normatec 3 Legs — $799.00

If you’re willing to spend big to feel amazing, these compression boots deliver the “aaaahhhhs.”

Why does encasing your feet in pulsating vinyl air tubes feel great, though?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this. Yes, it has the massage aspect: I cringed audibly, especially, when the boots squeezed around my hips where I carried so much tension. Meanwhile my husband enjoys the rush of new blood flow he feels as he decompresses the top of the boot, as if he’s regaining strength in his tired feet.

“Since pneumatic boots combine massage and compression aspects, it makes sense that they will feel good and make someone feel like they’re reducing pain,” says exercise physiologist Sharon Gumm, PhD, CSCS. That’s because research shows that massage and compression rates are the two most effective methods when it comes to reducing the perception of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), Dr. Gam says.

But I realized that what I really like about them is that the boots feel weightless on my entire lower half. Even when I lay on the couch after a workout, I still feel like my legs are heavy and I’m still responsible for their existence. Dr. Gum says that’s thanks to all the smaller stabilizer muscles that are working even when you’re lying down. But the air support of the boot relieves those muscles of their duty.

“You don’t completely turn into Jell-O when you lie down, do you?” Explained Dr. the gum “And so the boots are probably giving you a little bit of structure and support to allow those tiny little muscles — or your major muscles to be active — to release it. And you realize this weightlessness or this relief, and it sounds really nice. “

How the Compression Boot Became a Recovery Tool

Normatec boots exemplify the need to be the mother of innovation. The technology was invented by Laura Jacobs, MD, a physician (who is the real-life mother of Normatec Recovery founder Gilad Jacobs) when she realized that there was no effective treatment for breast cancer patients experiencing fluid pooling in their arms due to surgical backup. in their lymphatic system. (Pneumatic compression means compressing the lymphatic system.)

Cancer doctors dismissed the women’s complaints, and the only option for patients was to wrap their arms in ACE bandages and pin them at night to aid drainage. So Dr. Jacobs, a rehabilitation specialist who also had a degree in bioengineering (NBD), decided to build his own device. That’s how Normatec’s patented “Norma Massage” protocol (named for Dr. Jacobs’ mother, Norma) was created.

Several years later, Dr. Jacobs’ son wondered if it could be applied to athletes, including those experiencing swelling from inflammation and injury. The devices—which cost about $5,000 at the time—flew off the shelves, and Jacobs learned through the professional and college athletics programs he sold them to that non-injured athletes were also using compression boots for general recovery. That’s how Normatec came up with their marketing slogan “Fresher legs faster” – because athletes told them it was happening. “By mimicking what the body does naturally, we’re increasing speed [recovery] Process in a way that feels really good,” Jacobs says.

Today, you can find them in the recovery centers of pro-athletes around the world, as well as in people’s living rooms.

What Science Says About Compression Boots and Fitness Recovery

We’ve already established that they feel really great. But when deciding whether they’re worth the money, Dr Gum warns to be wary of some marketing claims: A meta-analysis of studies on the effects of compression boots on performance found little evidence that this type of technology improves performance. When it comes to muscle pain, Dr. Gamm notes that generally, measures to reduce DOMS are subjective and may even be due to a placebo effect.

“If you feel like you can push a little harder and you can recover better—and that helps you give it your all in the next session or skip a session because you think you’re too sore—yes, I think so. Make sure it’s worthwhile,” says Dr Gum. “But I think that if you try to take that and try to connect it to whether or not your body recovers well, that connection isn’t really clear.”

The keys to true recovery are time, sleep and healthy nutrition. Dr. Gumm says the boots are no replacement for those basics, and if athletes use them, it’s as a cherry on top of an already personally optimized recovery routine. Because not everyone works out to the extent that they might feel the need for high-tech restorations, and because of the price tag, Jacobs admits the boots may not be for everyone. But he notes that this is the most accessible version of the boots yet: The NormaTec 3s cost several hundred dollars less than their predecessors, and come with a retooled control unit that’s extremely easy and intuitive to use.

But he also thinks people are making recovery a bigger part of their lives—and, as a result, they’re willing to invest in tools designed to help optimize their experience. “We’re very proactive about our workouts, about our nutrition,” he says. “We should be really proactive about recovery.” If that means a 30-minute session in these boots, it’s a (reclined) position I’m willing to consider.

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