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Yes, You Can Overdo Recovery… And Your Favorite Fitness Tools Might Be To Blame

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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The “more is better” mentality has hit workout recovery. Foam rollers, massage guns, even ice baths are the new must-haves. 

But are all these fancy tools really helping you get stronger, or could they actually be hurting your progress? 

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Experts say the overuse of recovery techniques is a growing problem. Find out if your routine is doing more harm than good.

Excessive Recovery Techniques

As recovery gains popularity, the fitness industry has introduced an array of tools and techniques. 

Foam rollers, massage guns, and cold plunges dominate Instagram feeds, often showcased by fitness influencers in their daily routines. This might suggest that more is better, but is it? 

The transformation of recovery into an active regimen means many are going beyond the proven methods of sleep and proper diet, embracing a ‘doing more’ mindset that could actually hinder recovery.

Expert Opinions on Overdoing Recovery

Experts in physical therapy and sports recovery caution against overindulging in these modern methods. Tanner Neuberger, DPT, highlights the risks of using too many recovery modalities, which can interfere with training and increase recovery times. 

Paul Longworth adds that the prevailing belief that ‘more is always better’ is rarely applicable to training and recovery. Overusing recovery methods like prolonged cold plunges can lead to diminished benefits and even health risks such as hypothermia.

Risks of Popular Recovery Tools

The misuse of recovery tools can lead to physical harm. 

For instance, excessive use of massage guns on sore muscles can increase swelling, cause bruising, and exacerbate muscle tears

Both Neuberger and Longworth recommend limiting the use of such tools to a few minutes per muscle group to avoid these risks

Similarly, the improper use of at-home cupping kits can result in burns, and overdoing it with foam rollers can put undue stress on muscles and tissues.

The Benefits of Traditional and Simple Recovery Methods

Despite the allure of high-tech recovery gadgets, traditional methods like sleep, nutrition, and gentle movement remain the foundation of effective recovery. 

These methods should constitute at least 95% of a recovery regimen, as emphasized by Neuberger. A 2023 review supports the effectiveness of these traditional methods, noting significant benefits without the risks associated with more invasive tools.

Misinformation and Misuse in Consumer Hands

With the proliferation of recovery tools in the market, there is a concerning trend towards self-prescribed treatments. Longworth criticizes the common practice of relying on social media tutorials rather than expert guidance. 

He stresses the importance of reading manuals and consulting professionals to ensure recovery tools are used safely and effectively.


The enthusiasm for recovery in fitness is welcome, but it must not overshadow the essentials: sleep, nutrition, and moderate physical activity. While advanced tools offer additional benefits, they should supplement, not replace, the basics. As we embrace this new trend, balancing modern techniques with tried-and-true recovery methods will be key to maintaining optimal health and fitness.

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Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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