The truth about recovery aids for cycling: popular products rated and ranked

You only reap the rewards of your training once you've recovered – it's a process that countless products claim to enhance, but which ones really work? We take a look at the evidence

Image shows a rider using a recovery aid.
(Image credit: Future)

You don’t gain fitness instantly as you train but afterwards while you’re recovering. It doesn’t matter how hard you train, if you’re not recovering from your efforts you won’t be improving as much or as quickly as you could be. The basics of recovering effectively are good-quality nutrition and plenty of sleep – if you’re eating well and sleeping well, you’re 90% of the way there. Even so, the sports sector is jam-packed with products purporting to boost recovery. They range from protein powers costing $1 / £1 a packet to massage machines costing thousands. 

These products can be broadly divided into four categories: compression; cold therapy; neuromuscular aids; and nutrition. We’ve looked into the scientific basis on which each type of product is based, and our aim here is to assess whether they really provide recovery boosting effects.

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